South Africa v India
Tuesday 11 January 08.30
TV: live on Sky Sports

South Africa stunning

It’s been some start to Test cricket in 2022. What was the biggest shock? Bangladesh beating New Zealand? South Africa beating India? Or England managing an Ashes draw?

The South Africa success in Jo’burg was perhaps least surprising because in game one their bowlers had been so impressive. They were bang at it again for game two.

Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen and now Duanne Olivier are a pace attack which could take the world by storm. Certainly India’s batsmen have problems.

The batting is also improving. Chasing 243 on a wearing Wanderers surface was quite something. Keegan Petersen, in the graveyard slot at No 3, has a score under his belt and could go from strength to strength. Aiden Markram showed he had the temperament for the Test game by taking the attack to India.

Probable XI: Elgar, Markram, Petersen, Van Der Dussen, Bavuma, Verreynne, Jansen, Rabada, Maharaj, Olivier, Ngidi.

India shake up

India should welcome back Virat Kohli from injury and the skipper missed the second Test through injury. But that should not be an excuse to ignore batting frailties.

It is time for at least one of Chesteshwar Pujara or Ajinkya Rahane to make way. Ideally Shreayas Iyer would come in after his sensational debut but Hanuma Vihari, because of his useful bowling, seems to be the next in line. Vihari replaced Kohli.

India could also shake up the bowling group. Mohammed Siraj was wicketless in the second Test and Ishant Sharma’s experience may be required. Umesh Yadav is another option if India feel they need to counter the South African speedsters with their fastest bowler.

Possible XI: Rahul, Agarwal, Pujara, Kohli, Vihari, Pant, Ashwin, Thakur, Shami, Ishant, Bumrah.

Pitch report

Newlands has produced some fair wickets down the years, as borne out by the list of first-innings runs in the last seven Tests. They read (most recent first): 269-177-311-286-392-629-329-494.

England won the last Test played there in 2020. They did so by an innings despite a low first-innings score. There is no toss bias to get excited about and it’s doubtful as to whether the surface takes much deterioration.

Maybe because there’s plenty in it for the bowlers anyway. In the last five years (four Tests) there have been only four match innings of more than 300. It could pay to be going unders, particularly on India’s runs given their issues with this attack.

The weather forecast is good with forecasters expecting showers on day two.

Clear trade strategy

South Africa are 2.9015/8, India 2.166/5 and the draw is 4.904/1 on match odds. It is a terrifically competitive heat on a result wicket. There has been one draw at Newlands in the last 12.

With both bowling groups expected to go well (and batting units a little flaky) it could be a pick ’em. A more strategic option might be using the tried and trusted Cricket…Only Bettor method of adding 25% to the price of either team and putting an order in pre-toss.

Alternatively, we can hope for a partnership or two early on and get that stalemate price down to the 3.505/2 mark and wade in with a hefty lay.

Tops value

If 2022 is going to be the sort of year when your 33/1 top-bat pick gets pipped by six runs then buckle up. We are still smarting from Ravi Ashwin not copping in Jo’burg.

But it is statistically clear the value lies in the lower order with the new ball ready to bend and make life tricky for the top-order players. Ashwin is 22s, a hefty cut so we point out Shardul Thakur at 33s. Hardik Pandya won from No 7 in 2018. Shardul is more than capable with the bat and is their go-to nightwatchman.

For South Africa, the 9/2 about Temba Bavuma is not a sexy price but it makes sense given his technique, durability and No 5 slot makes him perfectly positioned to go well.

Kohli and Dean Elgar, man of the match in Jo’burg, have been boosted to 9/4 and 7/2 respectively to top score.

Bowling dominance is characterised by three bowlers winning the man of the match in the last five Tests. Ben Stokes won for England with wickets and runs. Rabada, a winner versus Sri Lanka, stands out at 11s while Ngidi, an out-and-out wicket-taker, is 20s. Mohammad SHami is also interesting at 12s.

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(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)



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