How long does the game last?

There are two scheduled days remaining. Given the evidence so far, it is easy to reckon that England lack the gumption, skill and, frankly, will to take it that far.

The truth is, all of those three are reasons why it could go into the fifth with Australia well set. They negotiated the pink ball under lights with aplomb. Now they will either grind England into the south Australian dirt late until day four, giving them 20 overs under lights, or, emboldened by England’s pathetic batting go for a quick kill.

A fifth day is as skinny as 1.132/15. No fifth day is available to back at 5.004/1. There’s a little bit of statistical support for the latter but, alas, it requires England to take regular wickets.

The pink ball does appear to make a difference in terms of the number of overs required to take a wicket in third innings.

Starkly, in none of the previous four third-innings in Tests at the Adelaide before day-nighters was a team bowled out. In five day-nighters every side has been bowled out in the third.

A wicket has fallen every 6 overs and the average score is 174. These numbers are skewed somewhat by India’s collapse to 36 all out last year in 21 overs. You may recall England bowled out Australia for just 138 in the third in 2017 as and swung it round corners.

Sell England runs

Timing, though, is important. Batting is trickier with the sun setting as batsmen struggle to adjust to the change of light. The pink ball may also zip around more in such conditions.

That is perhaps highlighted also by the fact the number of over required to take a wicket in the fourth is higher than in the third. It’s more than eight over a victim. That means one day and two new balls should be enough.

These numbers are useful when trying to predict Australia declare. Or how many they score.

If they are cautious they might bat 65 overs. This leaves them the 20 overs with the light fading and a hard cherry. That could be worth another 195 runs at three an over or 227 at 3.5. Both scenarios make over 226.5 innings runs a wager.

England’s innings runs are likely to be set lower, possibly at 215.5. It looks an unders wager because of the added threat of another late-night session to contend with plus Nathan Lyon’s spin on a wearing, abrasive surface. Sportsbook are right to make him 5/4 jolly for top Australia bowler in the fourth.

Even if they lasted the average 80 overs – and we take that with a big pinch of salt because they are surely shot psychologically – then they would have to pump along at more than 2.5 an over.

Otherwise, Australia at 1.232/9 is buying money. Any sort of partnership for England means we should absolutely pile into Australia.

TOp-bat value for England

Some careers are on the line in the fourth innings for England. Rory Burns, , and all need a score for short- or long-term survival.

We don’t expect wholesale changes for England but one from Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence will be disappointed not to be involved in the third Test. Long-term Ashes failure is not forgotten and although planning is not England’s forte they may look to move on from some of these players. Buttler may retire from Tests post-series.

But that is for later discussion. The here and now is finding a winner for top England bat. On win rates there are some bad bets and good ones.

, as ever, stands out as poor value. Five wins and a tie in 28 suggests a 33% probability rating is far too much to ask.

But looks solid at surprisingly-big 5/1. We have him down as a 4/1 chance on win rate. Two wins against Australia in England’s second innings (Headingley, of course) suggests he has the right mentality.

Pope and Buttler both stink the place out at 7/1 and 8/1. But how about Woakes at 25s? Woakes has two wins and if we bet him we keep onside another England collapse. It is possible that 30 or 40 may be enough.

England top bat wins in second innings last three years
Root 5 t/28
Stokes 4/20
Burns 3/22
Woakes 2/8
Buttler 1/22
Hameed 1/3
Pope 0/15

Ashes series day wins tally
Australia 6 England 1

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