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Continued Steyn absence gives England advantage in third Test

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 12, 2016

South Africa v England

  • Third Test
  • January 14th-18th
  • Play starts: 08:30 GMT
  • New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Live on Sky Sports 2

England can secure series win

England’s chances of claiming a fantastic series win over South Africa have been boosted by the news that star seamer Dale Steyn will miss out again, meaning the visitors’ odds for victory at 2/1 with Coral look highly enticing.

This news for the hosts comes after another hit to their confidence with Hashim Amla stepping down as skipper, though he will still carry on batting at number three.

South Africa England Cricket

Trevor Bayliss’ men, meanwhile, are at full strength, with Nick Compton fit for section following fears he was suffering from illness.

Ben Stokes was the hero of the last Test, which ended as a draw, after smashing his way to a record-quickest 250 in the first innings, and the New Zealand-born all-rounder is 8/1 to be best England batsman again.

England stars in form

South Africa Cricket England

Joe Root and Alastair Cook top that market at 3/1 and 7/2 respectively, while the former is 11/1 to do so and help his side win in an enhanced wincast (max stake £20).

In terms of bowling, Steven Finn (3/1 to be best with the ball for England in the first innings) and Stuart Broad (9/4) have impressed most so far, while James Anderson returned to fitness with a wicket last time out.

For South Africa, despite Amla handing the captaincy over to AB de Villiers for the rest of the series, he did manage a double hundred in Cape Town, and so is 3/1 to get the most runs for his side again now that the pressure is off him.

Modern great De Villiers, who managed a knock of 88 in that match, tops the market at 11/4, while century maker Temba Bavuma is priced at 8/1.

South Africa lack sting without Steyn

South Africa Cricket England

It remains to be seen if Chris Morris (to be best South Africa bowler) will continue to lead the attack in Steyn’s absence after getting expensive figures of just 1-150 in the first innings in Cape Town, but Kagiso Rabada (3/1) and Dane Piedt (4/1) impressed.

The hosts have history on their side in this battle, having only lost two of their last 15 against England in Johannesburg (since 1928), which is perhaps why they are slight 7/4 match favourites.

A draw, meanwhile, has occurred in eight of those meetings, and another share of the spoils is also priced at 7/4, which would favour England going into the final match 1-0 up.

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Coral’s top tip: After Stokes’ 258 last time out, back him at 8/1 to be best England batsman in the first innings again.