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View From Down Under: Australia the heavy favorite to win second Ashes test against England

After dominating the final stages of the first Ashes test this week, Australia is the deserved favorite heading into the second test against England starting Saturday.

Pat Cummins is expected to again lead an unchanged pace attack with the pink ball on a lightning-quick Adelaide pitch for the day/night encounter.

England’s tail end failed at Brisbane’s Gabba ground as Aussie skipper Steve Smith produced a memorable, unbeaten 141 in the first innings to lead the hosts to a 10-wicket win.

Australian pace trio Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood terrorized the England batsmen with short-pitched balls in Brisbane, and Adelaide is promising more for the quicks.

“It does quicken up at night. It’s probably the fastest wicket around Australia at night,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said this week.

England spearhead Jimmy Anderson, meanwhile, is expected to be equally effective with the pink ball.

The selection of batsman Shaun Marsh, wicketkeeper Tim Paine and first-time opener Cameron Bancroft raised eyebrows before the first test, but they justified their inclusion with strong individual efforts.

Bancroft in particular recovered from scoring just five in the first innings to go on and hit the winning runs in an unbeaten 82.

William Hill is paying $1.60 (-167) on Australia to take a 2-0 series lead with a win in Adelaide, with England on $3.60 (+260).

After showers on Saturday, the weather is expected to clear for the remainder of the match making the $6 (+500) on offer for a draw less attractive.

While Australia and England battle for supremacy at the Adelaide Cricket Ground, another Ashes encounter will decide the Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane on Saturday night.

The defending champion Kangaroos are chasing an unprecedented 11th World Cup title when they host England at Suncorp Stadium.

Australia beat England 18-4 when the two teams met in the tournament opener earlier this month and has only gathered momentum in the ensuing weeks.

England, on the other hand, looked less convincing, reaching the final only after fending off a late Tongan comeback to win its semifinal 20-18.

Australia is on a 12-game winning streak against England dating back to 1995, the last time England made the World Cup final.

England has never won the tournament, with a combined Great Britain side the last team from the Northern Hemisphere to win the World Cup in 1972.

While England and Broncos coach Wayne Bennett is full of surprises and knows the nuances of Suncorp Oval better than anyone, Australia is virtually unbackable to win the title at $1.11 (-909), with England on $7 (+600).

In the A-League, the second-place Newcastle Jets have a chance to take the lead with a win over No. 3 Melbourne City.

The Jets downed the Melbourne Victory 4-1, while City drifted further off the lead with a 3-1 loss to Perth Glory.

The Jets are paying $2.40 (+140) to take the points, with $2.80 (+180) for a loss and $3.50 (+250) for a draw.

Sydney FC is on $2.15 (+115) to win at Adelaide and retain the league lead.

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