England kick off their Test series against South Africa on Thursday, with new Captain Joe Root looking to get his reign off to a winning start at Lord’s. Having been named as Alastair Cook’s replacement, Root is seen as the ideal man by many to take over the responsibility, with England looking to improve upon their record just in time for the Ashes series later in the year.
However, with South Africa having won their last four Test series’, last coming unstuck in England back in 2015, it is currently too close to call between the two teams. With odds among the bookmakers representing this, let’s take a look at the two teams, as well as our betting tip for the first Test.
With a four-Test series to look forward to during July and August, England will be hoping to use their home fixtures in their advantage. South Africa currently sit second in the ICC Test rankings, meaning that fourth placed England will have to be at their best to come away with a victory. Perhaps two of their most important players come in the shape of Alastair Cook and Jonny Bairstow. Despite Cook having made the difficult decision to step down as Captain, the opening batsman has been in fine form for Essex of late, hitting three centuries for the County Championship Leaders. Meanwhile, Bairstow is coming off the back of a great 2016, scoring more Test runs in the calendar year than any other wicketkeeper in history. The 27-year-old is set to play another crucial role against the tourists, starting at Lord’s.
As previously mentioned, Faf du Plessis’ side have won four Test Series’ in a row, however the tourists have struggled over recent months. South Africa will be looking to the likes of Hashim Amla and Kagiso Rabada to lead them to another victory, with the duo among the top players in the world over the last 12 months. Amla remains a force to be reckoned with, and having played over 300 games for South Africa is one of the most prolific batsmen in their history. Meanwhile, Rabada is the youngest bowler inside the top 10 world rankings in both Test and ODI’s, with the 21-year-old expected to lead the attack for South Africa.
Top Betting Tips
Despite their Test form over recent years, our betting tip is to back England to register a win at the home of cricket. Best odds of 1/1 for Joe Root’s men to do so can be found at Betway, which is certainly worth backing given England’s record at Lord’s.