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Bancroft & Warner put Australia in box seat for Ashes glory

Australia vs. England Ashes odds

AN unbeaten opening stand between David Warner and debutant Cameron Bancroft has led Australia to victory in the first Test of the 2017/18 Ashes series.

The pair chased down 170 in the fourth innings with more than two sessions to spare, thus extending the home side’s loss-free streak at the Gabba to 28 years.

It is a bitter pill for England, who had the upper hand until Steve Smith and Pat Cummins dug in on day three to give the Aussies an unlikely first-innings lead.

Online bookmakers are predicting more pain for the visitors in a week’s time.

Ashes 2nd Test odds

Neds.com.au has installed Australia as $1.62 favourites to win the second Test, which kicks off in Adelaide next Saturday.

England are paying $3.25 to square the series, while the draw is giving up tempting odds of $6.50.

Both sides will be eager to make history with a win in the first-ever Ashes Test to be played under lights.

Meanwhile, Smith’s match-saving 141 not out sees him head to SA as the clear frontrunner in the major player props at Sportsbet.com.au.

The skipper is pegged at $3.25 to top score in Australia’s first innings, and at $6 to claim a second consecutive MOTM award.

Joe Root remains the best of the English hopes in both of those markets, despite questions over his technique after copping two near-identical LBW dismissals.

Although Cummins and Nathan Lyon were the pick of the Aussie bowlers in the first Test, Sportsbet is backing Mitchell Starc ($2.75) and Josh Hazlewood ($3) to find their rhythm in Adelaide.

James Anderson was some ways short of his best at the Gabba, but the veteran seamer is England’s top hope for most wickets at $3 odds.

2017/18 Ashes series betting

Unsurprisingly, Australia’s rescue act in Brisbane has had a significant impact on series odds.

Bookies had them as far out as $1.50 a week ago, but CrownBet.com.au has brought them into a mere $1.17 to regain the urn.

The holders, meanwhile, have floated out to $5 to retain the Ashes and $8 to win the series outright.

The mood around the Aussie camp has shifted from outrage over dodgy selections to expectations of another dominant result on home soil.

A 5-0 whitewash to the hosts is paying $6 at Sportsbet, as are both 4-0 and 4-1 results.

As the only centurion in Brisbane, Australia captain Smith has taken a hefty lead in the race for top series runscorer ($2.50) and player of the series ($3).

Starc remains the best bet for top series bowler at $2.50 odds, while Lyon ($5) has moved up to the third line of betting on the back of an excellent five-wicket display.

Sportsbet has gone off Alastair Cook for top series batsman ($21) after a pair of failures at the Gabba, with Root ($6.50) and impressive newcomers Mark Stoneman and James Vince (both $18) the best of the British chances.

Stuart Broad ($8) is now the only English bowler paying single digits for most series wickets.

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