THE final Test at the Brit Oval to decide the Ashes series will be a betting bonanza, and it is estimated that an unprecedented £10 million will be wagered if current trends continue. There will be access to npower's giant screen in Regent's Park for days three and four this weekend.
Ladbrokes claim interest in their betting markets is at an all-time high and, despite England's poor showing at Headingley, most of the money is going on Andrew Strauss's team as 7/2 outsiders, bolstered by the return of Andrew Flintoff.
Flintoff, in the final Test of his career, is 3/1 with Ladbrokes to be top England wicket-taker, 10/1 to be their top batsman and 8/1 favourite to be man of the match. He is 12/1 to take five wickets in either innings, 2/1 to hit a fifty and 10/1 to hit a hundred.
Ladbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison said: "We thought interest was intense in 2005, but this has pushed out the boundaries even further. This time England have to win if they are to snatch back the urn, and we are laying bundles of them up and down the country. If England win and Flintoff is man of the match, we'll melt all our betting pens and carve a huge statue in fond remembrance of the man who burnt the bookies."
Australia are 6/4 to make it two victories in a row and retain the Ashes, with the draw priced at 6/4.
Cricket supporters and families can take a picnic and watch Saturday and Sunday on a giant screen at Regents Park, courtesy of npower as part of their "Cricket in the Park" promotion. There will be a host of activities for all the family.
Admission is free on first come first served basis, though places can be reserved through the ECB website www.ecb.co.uk
Cricket in the Park area is located on Marylebone Green. Entrance will be via the south end of the park, with the nearest entrances located on York Bridge and Park Square Way.
Underground warning: Engineering work means line closures on Jubilee, Metropolitan (no service Aldgate to Harrow-on-the-Hill), District (no service Whitechapel to Dagenham East, and no service Putney Bridge to Wimbledon), Hammersmith & City (no service Whitechapel to Barking).
The following bus routes stop within walking distance of Regents Park:
No 2: Marylebone Station - Crystal Palace
13: Aldwych - Golders Green
18: Euston - Sudbury
27: Chalk Farm - Turnham Green
30: Marble Arch - Hackney Wick
74: Baker St Station - Roehampton
82: Victoria - North Finchley
113: Oxford Circus - Edgware
139: Waterloo - West Hampstead
189: Oxford Circus - Brent Cross Shopping Centre
274: Angel Islington - Lancaster Gate
453: Marylebone Street - Deptford Broadway
C2: Oxford Circus - Parliament Hill Fields