The Ashes Fourth Test Betting Preview

England's Ian Bell (Getty)

As The Ashes moves in to the final stages, it's still as close as it could be, with both sides in with a chance of winning the little urn. We ask which side has the best chance of taking the fourth test out of five, at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday, and we look at the best bets for this potentially-gripping match.

Match Preview

It's becoming a cliche to say that nobody expected the previous Ashes result, but maybe we should all begin to expect what we are seeing. England and Australia are two evenly-matched teams with little to choose between them, and it's all going to be about small gains here and there to decide who will win the series.

England, in their last seven tests, have the odd record W-L-W-L-W-L-W, and if this were repeated in the final two matches of the Ashes series, the home side would take the urn with the result at 3-2. In all likelihood, things will not be so simple. Trent Bridge is traditionally a tricky ground for England, though this time it might not just be the pitch England has to worry about.

Having had a full-strength side for the first three tests, in stark contrast with Australia, which had to deal with Ryan Harris's retirement and the displacement of Brad Haddin, who originally left the team for family reasons. James Anderson looked in some pain after bowling in the third test, and was found to have a side strain serious enough to keep him out of the next match, and possibly even the final test.

England has bowlers in reserve: Steven Finn came back into the side at Edgbaston, for the first test match the fast bowler had played since being sent home from the last Ashes series with problems in his technique, having been deemed unselectable. It has been a long, slow road back to credibility for Finn, who has had to rediscover his natural action, against the influence of years of over-coaching. His eight wickets across two innings were richly-deserved.

Mark Footitt has been brought into the squad to join paceman Mark Wood as potential stand-ins for Anderson, but it's going to take a lot to replace England's highest ever wicket-taker. By contrast, Australia has relatively few selection questions: the main problem for the tourists is form, not fitness. There was regret over the way the Haddin situation was handled, but Michael Clarke's form with the bat is also under scrutiny. It is likely the captain will move down to number five in the order.

Prediction

As with every test so far, this will depend a lot on the pitch conditions - but it will also depend on how unsettled England's players are by the big change to the team. Anderson is a considerable presence on and off the field, and his absence swings proceedings back in Australia's direction. We go for an Australian win in Nottingham. This would set up yet another thrilling finale at Surrey's ground, The Oval, in the final test.

Top Bets

7/2 with Bet365 for David Warner to be top Australia batsman

37/13 with Unibet for Mitchell Starc to be top Australia bowler

11/4 with Unibet for Steven Finn to be top England bowler

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