Cricket Betting: South Africa vs England 1st Test Preview

December 23, 2015 by Posted in Cricket Tips

Hashim AmlaTwo of the best Test teams going around – South Africa and England – will lock horns for the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy starting this Boxing Day. The first of the four Test matches starts on the 26th December at Kingsmead, Durban.

The Proteas remain the #1 Test side in the world but their confidence must have been dented by the disastrous 3-0 defeat in India. The only solace is that the pitches back home are more suited their style of play. England too come into this series on the back of a 2-0 series loss to Pakistan in the spinning pitches of U.A.E. How fast can the two teams adjust back to the seaming conditions will be vital.

The home side will be without Vernon Philander for the first two matches while Dale Steyn is reportedly fit and should lead the attack once again. Kyle Abbott will fight with Kagiso Rabada for the third seamer option. If the pitch calls for it, the hosts can even go for a four-prong pace attack.

The fortunes of the home side’s batting will revolve around Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers who come on the back of a contrasting Indian series. Amla found it hard to score runs but should welcome the sight of true South African pitches. AB was the lone beaming positive in India and will be a bigger threat here.

England generally put a lot of emphasis on Test matches and this series is no exception. Their two practice matches should bear a testimony of this fact. The omission of Ian Bell raised many eyebrows but it is the opening conundrum that is giving Alastair Cook many nightmares. Who walks out with him at Durban is still a question mark but first evidence suggest it could be Alex Hales.

The visitors’ bowling received a timely boost with the return to fitness of Steven Finn who joins the squad. It
will be a test of technique for the hosts with James Anderson and Stuart Broad raring to go. And how can we not talk about Joe Root with the bat who should be the torch bearer for England along with Cook.

England have happy memories of the ground with an innings win in the 2009 Boxing Day Test. For South Africa, there were four losses in the last five matches here. Another key fact is that only one of the last 12 matches has been drawn here. The Draw is priced at $3.45 at Sportsbet, with South Africa slight favourites at $2.29 to England’s odds of $2.95. At those prices, it’s hard not to favour the hosts for a small bet.

Amla will be eager to compensate for the loss of form in India and at odds of $4.00 at William Hill looks a good bet for South Africa’s leading run scorer in the first innings. For England, Cook at odds of $3.75 at William Hill looks an even better bet. Finn could be the surprise top England bowler at odds of $5.00 at William Hill while Morne Morkel could just be the guy for the hosts at odds of $3.50 at William Hill.

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