Cricket Tips: Our 3 best bets for The Ashes Boxing Day Test in Melbourne

Our tipster Nick Tedeschi delivers the best bets from Down Under.

Marnus Labuschagne

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The Ashes moves to Melbourne for the traditional Boxing Day Test and England are at the crossroads after two devastating defeats in the opening two Tests of the series.

Can they salvage their tour are they heading for another 5-0? Let’s find out…

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December 25, 11.30pm: Ashes 3rd Test Australia v England
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The Banker – Marnus Labuschagne Over 39.5 1st Innings Runs

I’m very happy to stick with Marnus Labuschagne to continue his dominance over England and his outstanding recent first innings record. Labuschagne averages just over 62 in Test cricket and has dominated on Australian turf.

In his last 11 first innings digs on Australian soil, the South Africa-born bat has not scored fewer than 47 runs with six centuries and three more half-centuries. He comes into Melbourne off a grinding century in Adelaide. He is now averaging 76 this series with no completed innings short of a half-century.

A player who has become the bane of most opponents, Labuschagne has played at Melbourne twice for first-innings scores of 63 and 48. He is excellent value to top score and record a half-century but the best play is on him to sail over his first-innings run line of 39.5.

The Value – Dawid Malan England Top 1st Innings Bat

Dawid Malan has been one of the few English players to show some spine with the bat this series and he is plenty of value to top their batting.

In two of his four innings he has ground out innings of 90-plus. Notable was his time at the crease: four-and-a-half hours and three-and-a-half hours are good stints against an Australian bowling attack that has run rampant this series.

Malan has shown plenty of fight early in his career. He has scored nine half-centuries in 19 Tests. The knock on him has been a failure to go on with it but the way this series has played out one would think 80 would be more than enough to lead England’s scoring.

Working in his favour is the lack of form Joe Root is showing and the lack of time at the crease Ben Stokes has had in recent times. Melbourne and its flat track should suit the patient Malan.

The Long Shot – Smith, Warner, Labuschagne & Malan 50+ 1st Innings Runs

Melbourne is typically a very good batting wicket – a road as they say in the classics – so I’m more than happy to take a big price about the three best Aussie bats and Dawid Malan all running up half-centuries.

The virtues of Labuschagne and Malan have been discussed above and the former does not know the meaning of the word failure. Malan comes into this off two 50s in his last three innings.

Steve Smith has four half-centuries in his last seven innings of the course of this calendar year. In his last 10 innings at the MCG, Smith has surpassed 50 on at least seven occasions. The biggest worry is David Warner but he has 50-plus in three of his last five digs at the ground.

Ashes 3rd Test tips

The Banker – Marnus Labuschagne Over 39.5 1st Innings Runs
The Value – Dawid Malan England Top 1st Innings Bat
The Long Shot – Smith, Warner, Labuschagne & Malan 50+ 1st Innings Runs

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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