Sir Ian Botham's Ashes Tips: England to finish series in style


As we move towards the fifth and final Ashes test this week, you have to say it's been a very successful series for England. 

It has gone pretty much as expected; I predicted 5-0 and one more England victory will make it 4-0 - so I wasn't far off. England have been by far the dominant force.

England have proved yet again this summer that they are a very capable team. Yes, Australia are rebuilding, but England have made the most of it so far and now just need to continue to capitalise on their weaknesses.

I think Australia thought they were back to some kind of form after the draw at Old Trafford, but they capitulated last time out in Durham, particularly with the bat. 

So, while it’s very hard to make predictions for the final test, one thing I can say with some confidence is that England will do well at the Oval. I expect England to win this game and finish the series in style (back England for the win at 2.00).

Not only that, but with another Ashes series around the corner in Australia, England will be keen to ensure they're the side in the ascendancy. It could certainly have an effect on the mindset going into that series Down Under later this year. 

I can’t see any reason why not to give Chris Tremlett the nod on his home track, given the absence of Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions. Tremlett will have a point to prove and can certainly be a weapon for England. 

It should be dry and sunny for most of the match so I’ll go with Nathan Lyon as Australia’s top wicket taker in the first innings. He may not be the obvious choice, but the conditions should allow him to get some turn and bounce, and 5.00 represents good value to me.

For England, Stuart Broad is on a role at the moment and I can see him taking plenty of wickets at the Oval. Priced at 3.50, Broad is riding on the crest of a wave and will be full of confidence. As such, he is a slightly better value bet than Anderson (available at 3.30), who is not enjoying the same kind of form as Broad.

In terms of top batsman, I can’t believe Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott aren’t going to get runs at some point in this series. Time is running out for them to get that big score and that could force them to produce their best performances of the summer this week. So I’m siding with Trott, who represents the best value at 5.50.

Michael Clarke (4.00) is the obvious choice to be Australia’s top batsman, but their top order has struggled throughout the series, so I can see much better value in Brad Haddin, who can be backed at 13.00 to top the Aussie run count.

Overall, this should be another routine England win. The motivation is to go to Australia with a 4-0 win under their belts will push them and, for that reason, I can see this final test going into a fourth day, but only just. I can see it being wrapped up before lunchtime on day four, which can be backed at 15.00.


Sir Ian Botham is a Unibet Armchair Ambassador and will be writing here exclusively throughout the Ashes series and across Unibet's Summer of Sport.


The fifth test starts on Wednesday at the Oval. See all of our Ashes markets here.