England take on South Africa in the 3rd test of their series beginning on Thursday with the series delicately poised at 1-1. The Oval in London will be the setting for the all important match, one in which both teams will be desperate to win to gain an advantage in the series.
England ran out comfortable winners in the first test, winning by 211 runs at the home of cricket, Lords. It was all change in the second match in the series at Trent Bridge though as South Africa completely dominated England in every area of the game, eventually winning by a massive 340 runs.
England’s batsmen really struggled at Trent Bridge as Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander tore through the top order with ease on a difficult surface. South Africa were buoyed by the return of their captain Faf du Plessis in that second test and they will again be boosted by a returning star this time out as Kasigo Rabada will return from his one match suspension. Rabada is South Africa’s leading wicket taker over the last 10 tests, having picked up 41 wickets at an average of 23.80.
Gary Ballance will miss the third test for England and he will be replaced by Essex batsman Tom Westley. Westley averages 53.11 in the Specsavers County Championship this season, having picked up two centuries so far.
England desperately need some runs at the top of the order with Alistair Cook and Keaton Jennings both struggling for form with the bat. England can not keep relying on star man and captain Joe Root to bail them out and the top order will need to give the side a good start if they are to win this all test.
As you can, Ladbrokes are offering odds of 11/10 on an England victory, 15/8 for a South African one and 10/3 on the draw. England really struggled last time out and with South Africa’s premier bowler returning for this match, those odds of 15/8 on a South African victory look pretty tempting. If you want to gamble on the draw then 10/3 also looks appetising, considering the recent changeable weather in England and rain predicted for both Friday and Sunday, then those odds could represent good value for money.
In other markets, if you fancy debutant Tom Westley to perform well, you can get odds of 11/2 (Ladbrokes) on him being the highest scorer for England in the first innings or 22/1 (Ladbrokes) on him being Man of the Match. For South Africa, if you fancy the returning Rabada to pick up the Man of the Match award, you can get odds of 16/1 (Ladbrokes) on him.
Away sides have regularly out performed home sides in test matches between these two sides and you have to go back to the turn of the millennium to find the last time a home side won a test series between the two. I think it’s hard to see England winning this one considering their performance last time out and with the South African team getting stronger with every game, therefore the odds of 15/8 (Ladbrokes) on South Africa to win look like your best bet.