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England now 5/2 for Ashes series success after galling Gabba loss

| 24.11.2013

Losing to Australia at the Gabba is no great disgrace, or even a surprise as this news site was one of many that fancied Michael Clarke’s chances of leading his team to victory in the first Ashes Test.

It was, of course, the manner in which England were beaten in Brisbane that shocked the cricket-watching public and Coral have reacted to the 381-run thrashing by easing Alastair Cook’s men out to 5/2, from 6/5 at the start of the match, to win the five-game series.

Australia are now 4/6 favourites to wrestle back the urn by converting their 1-0 lead into a series win and Clarke’s charges will be full of confidence after handing the 32-year-old a first Ashes victory as captain in his sixth try.

Play resumes at the start of December in Adelaide, with the hosts priced up as 6/4 favourites to win at an unknown quantity of a venue which has been entirely redeveloped since England won there three years ago.

Then it’s on to the Waca in Perth, where the visitors were dismissed for less than two hundred in both innings back in 2010, when going down to their only defeat of the tour.

England have lost on their last six visits to Perth and have only ever won once at the Waca, all the way back in December 1978.

There were few positives for Barmy Army fans to take out of the first-Test defeat, but Australia’s terrible run of form this year suggests they have not become world-beaters overnight.

The win in Brisbane was their first Test success since the start of January and while Clarke and opener David Warner impressed with second-innings centuries, the rest of Australia’s top order struggled, with Chris Rodgers posting a particularly poor tally of 17 runs over two knocks.

Mitchell Johnson’s wavering confidence is sure to be tested at Adelaide, where conditions are expected to produce high scores and it’s hard to see England making so many silly mistakes again.

The series now depends on how Cook and his men react to a battering, but if they can rediscover the mental toughness that served them so well back in Blighty last summer then the 11/10 odds about the urn returning to England may start to look a pretty big price.