The Boxing Day Test is an Australian sporting institution and all eyes will be on the MCG from Sunday, when Australia and England meet for the third time in the 2021/22 Ashes Series.
Australia took a commanding 2-0 Ashes Series lead with another dominant display in Adelaide, and they can close out the series result with a win in the Boxing Day Test.
For England, it’s all about keeping the series alive and salvaging some pride, and further changes to their line-up look likely in Melbourne.
I’ve run the rule over squads and our Ashes betting markets, and you can find my complete Boxing Day Test tips below.
Australia’s preparations for the second Ashes Test were thrown into turmoil at the eleventh hour when captain Pat Cummins was ruled out through COVID contact tracing.
The loss of Josh Hazlewood earlier in the week meant that the Aussie fast bowling attack looked to be extremely underpowered, but ultimately, it didn’t matter.
The sheer depth of fast bowling talent in Australia is incredible, and Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser slotted into the team as though nothing had happened.
With Cummins confirmed to come back into the side for the Boxing Day Test and Hazlewood reportedly also ready to go, Australia may elect to pick an almost identical side to that which stepped out at The Gabba, with the only change being Usman Khawaja stepping in for the struggling Marcus Harris.
Likely Australia XI
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith (vc), Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
England have been outclassed in both Brisbane and Adelaide, and they are well and truly behind the eight-ball ahead of the Boxing Day Test.
To their credit, Joe Root’s men did show signs of improvement and some fight in the pink ball test and pushed Australia into the final session of the match, but ultimately, they couldn’t salvage a draw.
With the series on the line, captain, coach and the selection panel are sure to make at least a couple of changes to the England line-up, with Zak Crawley a definite possibility for struggling opener Rory Burns. Should there be a desire to rest either Stuart Broad or James Anderson again, Mark Wood is the obvious selection.
Likely England XI
Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Joe Buttler (vc), Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Boxing Day Test Betting
There is plenty of value to be found in Boxing Day Test betting here at Neds.
Australia have comprehensively won the first two Tests and I am confident that they will close out the series at the MCG. At publish, we’re faced with $1.44 for Australia to win, and I think that is over the odds. England are available at $5.50, while the Draw has attracted some early interest at $5.
Top Runscorer betting has proven to be a lucrative betting option again in the 2021/22 Ashes Series, and there looks to be plenty of value on offer again ahead of the Boxing Day Test. Steve Smith has opened a $3.25 favourite in Australia 1st Innings Top Runscorer betting, leading Marnus Labuschagne ($3.75), David Warner ($4.33) and Travis Head ($7). Joe Root is understandably rated a $3 favourite for England, ahead of Dawid Malan ($5), Ben Stokes ($6) and Zak Crawley ($7).
Top Wicket Taker betting for Australia in the 1st Innings see Pat Cummins occupy the top line ($3.25) from Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc tied at $3.75. Nathan Lyon is rated a $5 chance. For England, James Anderson ($3.50) leads Mark Wood, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson, all rated $3.75 chances.
Boxing Day Test Tips
Once again, Australia was simply too strong for England in the second Ashes Test, and they look well placed win in Melbourne and ultimately claim the series.
Pat Cummins is surely chomping at the bit ahead of his return to the side, and I am confident that he will return a big performance at the MCG, highlighted by him taking the most wickets for Australia in the 1st Innings. I like Stuart Broad to lead the way for England in the 1st Innings, as he tends to relish the conditions in Melbourne.
Marnus Labuschagne recorded the sixth century of his Test career in Adelaide, and he has continued to receive plenty of interest in 1st Innings Top Runscorer betting ahead of the Boxing Day Test, but given that he has gone so close twice now this series, I believe that David Warner is the value this time around. I’m going to follow the market for England, as Joe Root also looks due.
- Back Australia to Win at $1.44
- Back David Warner to be Australia’s Top Runscorer (1st Innings) at $4.33
- Back Joe Root to be England’s Top Runscorer (1st Innings) at $3.00
- Back Pat Cummins to be Australia’s Top Wicket Taker (1st Innings) at $3.25
- Back Stuart Broad to be England’s Top Wicket Taker (1st Innings) at $3.75