Allan Border feels Australia can bowl England out cheaply and win the first Ashes Test if the hosts' ultra-aggressive approach backfires.
The first Test between the two arch-rivals at Edgbaston in Birmingham is intriguingly poised. Ben Stokes and Co. ended Day 3 (Sunday, June 18) at 28/2, with an overall lead of 35 runs and eight second-innings wickets in hand.
During an interaction on SEN Breakfast, Border was asked about his thoughts on how the remainder of the Test could pan out, to which he responded:
"It's been pretty compelling cricket so far. The game is nicely poised at the moment. We could knock them over for 150, just the way they play. If they come out going after it, they make mistakes and we knock them over for that sort of score, I reckon we will win comfortably."
However, the former Australian skipper feels it would be tough for the visitors to chase down a target close to 250:
"If they get up to that 250-type lead, then it gets really difficult. They are in the box seat, in the fact that we have got to bat last. What happens in England is that the overhead conditions can really make a hell of a difference."
Border believes the England batters will have a tough time if the conditions remain overcast on the fourth morning:
"In other words, if they come out and bat tomorrow after the rain that we saw during the third day, it's a bit overcast, the ball can move around and it will be pretty difficult to bat in those conditions."
On the flip side, the 1987 World Cup-winning captain pointed out that a sunny day will make the conditions batting-friendly:
"As soon as the sun comes out, it flattens right out. It's really hard to explain why that happens. I don't think anyone knows, so that will play a role, the overhead conditions."
England were slightly fortunate when rain halted play on Day 3. The Australian bowlers were right on top at that stage, with the hosts having lost both their openers and the ball darting around due to the overcast conditions.
"That's a bit of a bonus" - Allan Border on Moeen Ali's finger issue
While reiterating that England enjoy a slight upper hand at the moment, Border added that Moeen Ali's finger issue could work to Australia's advantage:
"England are in a pretty good position because runs on the board when you have got the Day 4 or Day 5 pitch, makes it very difficult but their spinner has got a cooked finger. So that's a bit of a bonus. All the days have been great to watch and Day 4 will be no different."
Moeen had issues gripping the ball on Day 3 of the Edgbaston Test due to a blister on his finger. The spin-bowling all-rounder was recalled to the England Test side after Jack Leach was ruled out of the Ashes, but the off-spinner's lack of recent red-ball cricket has not helped his cause.
Poll : Will England set a 250-plus 4th innings target for Australia?