Strauss century helps put Brooks top of the order

England’s historic victory in the second Ashes Test match at Lord’s this week has seen a complete turnaround in the leader board of Sky Bet’s Ashes Media Challenge, with Gideon Brooks’ support for Andrew Strauss seeing them both scoring well.

Sky Bet, one of the SJA’s lead sponsors, is providing 30 of the Association’s members each with £50 in free bets on each of the Ashes Tests. At the end of the series, all of the entrants in the challenge will get to keep their winnings, while Sky Bet will match the winner’s balance with a donation to the charity of their choice.

There was plenty of betting action, both prior to the Test and also in-play. Those who backed England were rewarded when they won their first Ashes Test at the home of cricket since 1934.

Brooks’ £50 bet on Strauss to be England’s top batsman saw him jump to the top of the leader board with the biggest single return in the second Test of £225.

Paul Trow, who also put his faith in Strauss, moved from sixth into second place and Ian Cole jumped five positions after backing Michael Hussey to be Australia’s top first innings batsman.

Sky Bet has produced a range of Andrew Flintoff specials following his man-of-the-match display in England’s 115-run victory: 6/1 is on offer for the all-rounder to take five wickets in the first innings of the Edgbaston Test and it’s 16/1 for him to get a 10-wicket haul. Sky Bet also go 5/2 for Flintoff to hit a half-century in the first innings and 12/1 for him to hit a century.

Following the news that Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes series after surgery on his Achilles tendon, Sky Bet has refunded bets on him to be top England and top overall series batsman.

Sky Bet has also reacted to Pietersen’s withdrawal by easing England’s odds of regaining the Ashes to even money (from 4/5) and have trimmed Australia to 5/2 (from 3/1). The draw has been cut to 9/4 (from 5/2).

Sky Bet’s cricket compiler Tom Warburton said: “Although Pietersen’s absence will be felt by England, there are no major reasons for Strauss’ camp to hit the panic button just yet. England can now be backed at evens from 4/5 for the series, which could be value considering runs are being scored throughout the team.”

For the third Test at Edgbaston, England are now 3/1 with Sky Bet from an initial quote of 9/4. The draw has been cut to 6/5 (from 6/4) and the Australians are 6/4 (from 2/1). Ian Bell is 1/20 with Sky Bet to replace Pietersen.

For Sky Bet’s latest Ashes markets visit

Sky Bet Ashes Media Challenge – Leaderboard After The Second Test
1. Gideon Brooks £225.00 winnings
2. Paul Trow £180.83
3. Ian Cole £162.50
4. Chris Davies £122.92
5. Mark Garrod £119.38
6. Glyn Thomas £111.83
7. Oliver Owen £100.00
8. Steven Downes £94.52
9. Gary Fitzgerald £93.50
10. Ian Stafford £80.00
11. Adam Hathaway £77.85
12. Dean Wilson £71.98
13. Derek Pringle £68.39
14. Nick Hoult £65.00
15. Simon Wilde £56.25

â–¡ Sky Bet is the SJA’s newest partners, the sponsorship being announced in October 2008.

Together with the SJA’s other lead sponsor, UK Sport, both partners support our two prestigious annual awards events, including the Sky Bet sports betting writer of the year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.

The 61st annual SJA British Sports Awards will be staged at The Brewery, in London, on December 9 2009.

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