The Bellerive Green Top

Well, we are still accumulating little bits and pieces, the last month having been fairly kind on the cricket-punt front. Thanks to the Renegades who did the right thing in beating the Stars in the BBL last week, in what is turning into an even more even competition than expected (if that is possible). I’m sitting on that market for a moment but have had a little dabble on the Renegades to win the whole thing.

A couple of dud bets though: Australia was never going to provide the most run outs in the Third Test after Amla went to sleep and was found short of his ground. But they’re a chance again this week even if Watto is moved down the order. Not that I’ll be doing anything more than mucking around with that one.

I reckon the match result market is the pick of the options. Forget all the talk that Bellereve is greener than County Kildare this week: that never matters much down there. It always turns into a flat track and patient batsmen do well. Which is probably why there has been money for the draw, now quite short by usual standards.

Australia has the attack to bowl the Sri Lankans out twice - whether Peter Siddle is a vegetarian or not. I love that the sports science of the good old steak-onions-and-eggs days is alive and well in the front bars of Australian life where pot-sipping experts recall the 50s and 60s – as we all should. I was reminded of a skilful Barossa ruckman, one of the Lindners, who dominated at Tanunda (the Magpies) until finally he was persuaded to have a crack in town with the fledgling Central Districts club. A ball-player, he was the gentlest of giants which didn’t impress his coach, Ken Eustice, a man so hard he made goats’ knees seem like camembert cheese. “This is what you will do,” he blasted Lindner. “Every Saturday morning I want you to eat a pound of raw steak.” The willowy ruckman returned home to the civilised Barossa.

Peter Siddle is emerging (as long as he’s not being rotated) as the man to lead he Australian attack; to carry the responsibility in the way that G. McGrath did in those strong sides, and Big Merv did before that. In this Test much will depend on whether Mitchell Starc can get the ball to swing, and whether Mitchell Johnson can get it to land in the postcode. Nathan Lyon will have a big role to play later in the match and will have learnt a lot from Adelaide where he couldn’t quite bring the victory home.

The Australians should post the tally; whether they have the firepower and the creativity to remove the classy Sri Lankan batsmen is the key question. Sangakarra, like Amla, is a joy to watch.

I’ll be having a crack at the Australians, and saving on the draw after a day or so.

As for the BBL, I keep looking at young Finch for the Renegades. It’s a game where an individual performer can get you a long way and the blokes up the North Fitzroy Arms reckon they spotted him in the butcher’s during the week.

Value: Australia  to win this First Test.