South Africa v England 2nd Test: Proteas changes a gamble
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 31, 2015
South Africa v England
- Second Test
- January 2nd-6th
- Play starts: 08:30 GMT
- Newlands, Cape Town
- Live on Sky Sports 2
England seek to extend series lead
There has inevitably been a swift reaction from South Africa to their 241-run defeat by a touring England cricket team in the first of this four-Test series, with three Proteas players coming into their squad.
Dale Steyn, arguably the world’s best bowler, is highly unlikely to play any part in proceedings in Cape Town, so Chris Morris deputises. Uncapped seamer Hardus Viljoen is also an option for the hosts in attack with Kyle Abbott also doubtful with a hamstring problem, but these are gambles.
Calling up Quinton de Kock hints that AB de Villiers will be freed up from wicketkeeper duty, but South Africa are 13/8 chances with Coral to respond to their drubbing in Durban. That means England are all of a sudden 5/4 favourites, with the second Test available at 3/1 to be drawn.
Bayliss seeks consistency
Touring head coach Trevor Bayliss wants to see England put together a string of victories, following a mixed 2015 for the national side.
“If you want to be the best team in the world you’ve got to put in consistently good performances and I think we’ve got a way to go in that,” he said following the first Test win. “We can by no means rest on one win. We know it’s going to be a tough series.”
Bayliss will want more of the same from Nick Compton, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and James Taylor, as their batting contributions helped England make more than 300 runs in both of their Durban innings.
With the scourge of Steyn almost certainly absent, Yorkshire’s Root is available in an awesomely enhanced 8/1 wincast. He has to be best with the bat for England in the first innings en route to another Test triumph for this to pay off.
Anderson could be back to bowl
England’s All-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson had to sit on the sidelines in Durban, but may be back to heap more misery on the Proteas. If he proves his fitness, odds of 11/4 on him being best England bowler are well worth taking.
Moeen Ali (9/2), Stuart Broad (9/4) and Steven Finn (3/1) all offered plenty in Anderson’s absence, however, and it’s this variety to the touring attack, coupled with a weak looking South African top order, which makes them dangerous.
Don’t over look concerted Elgar efforts
Speaking of those fragile Proteas batsmen, only opener Dean Elgar can come out of the first Test with any credit, making an unbeaten 118 in the first innings. Elgar is well worth taking at 4/1 to repeat that feat and being best at the crease for South Africa.
If, as expected, De Kock keeps wicket, there is no hiding place for De Villiers. Twice denied half-centuries by England in Durban, he must not deliver more with the bat.
A tasty 10/1 wincast where De Villiers is best in South Africa’s first innings and they level the series remains worthy of consideration.
Proteas need more from Morkel
With Steyn set to be sidelined with shoulder problems and Abbott’s untimely injury, it does put plenty of pressure on pace bowler Morne Morkel, and he’s just 2/1 to be best with the ball for South Africa.
Dane Piedt, a Cape Cobras teammate of Steyn, once again has the chance to step out from his shadow, but must improve on expensive bowling figures of 5-153 in England’s second innings.
Punters can get double the odds available for Morkel on Piedt being the Proteas’ most proficient bowler at 4/1.
Coral’s top tip: Elgar represents real value at 4/1 to be best South Africa batsman in their first innings, with other top order players having a lot to prove.