South Africa v England 3rd Test – Port Elizabeth
Having levelled the series in dramatic style, England head to Port Elizabeth in high spirits and as favourites for the Test match and the series. Bet 365 offer 2/1 on an England series win, which is tough to ignore given the team performances from last week. England have the momentum and are the better side.
To add extra spice to the contest this is the 50th encounter between the two wises since South Africa’s Readmission, and the sides are all square on 16 twins a peace.
England’s all-time leading wicket taker James Anderson is side-lined by injury and joins Rory Burns back in England. However, Jofra Archer should be fit to replace Anderson and is likely to be the only English change, although fit again Mark Wood is knocking on the door. Jack Leach has also returned home so expect Dom Bess to keep his place as the front-line spin option. Zac Crawley has struggled during his two tests to date but will be given the rest of this series to try and impress the selectors before England’s next tour to Sri Lanka.
South Africa’s frailties in the last test have increased the pressure on captain Faf du Plessis but they could well keep faith with the XI that lost in Cape Town. The skipper last scored a Test century more than a year ago and has not passed 30 in his last seven test innings.
Possible 3rd Test Line-ups:
England: Zac Crawley, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root*, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler+, Sam Curran, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Faff du Plessis*, Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock+, Vernon Philander, Dwayne Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s slowest surface and the most likely to take turn, so both Bess and Keshav Maharaj should have important roles to play. Of the thirty Test matches played at St George’s park, only five have ended in a draw, most recently against the West indies in 2014. It has been hot and dry in the Eastern Cape for months, however there is rain around over the weekend to worry draw layers.
Dominic Sibley scored his maiden Test match hundred in Cape Town and Joe Root is starting to show a return to form, but Ben Stokes has become England’s standard out player over the last year. The newly announced ICC player of the year is he best priced at 10/1 to be Man of the Match or 5/1 with William Hill to top score in England’s first Innings.
BET | Ben Stokes Top England Batsman (1st Innings) at 5/1 with William Hill.
Dean Elgar heads the betting for South Africa, best priced at 4/1 with William Hill to be top batsman. The Proteas top scorer for the series, Quinton de Kock is available at 5/1.
Bet 365 again offer a selection of Player Performance markets for the Test match. One point is award per run, 10 per catch, 20 per wicket and 25 per stumping giving the punter an interest for the whole Test match. A couple stand out to me. Given du Plessis current slump twined with a career performance average below 70, a line of 84.5 is too high. Stuart Broad’s line of 100.5 is also too high. He averages under 80 away from England, is likely to bat 11 and the slow pitch will not suit him.