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Nic Ladds 22nd Jan 2009 - 9:15

3rd ODI to be decided on flip of a coin

Ricky Ponting will be looking to command his Australia team to victory and a 2-1 lead over South Africa but the home side are perhaps a little short at odds of 1/2 to take victory.

South Africa won the first ODI by three wickets with Australia winning the second by five runs which would suggest the teams are very evenly matched and odds of 6/4 about a South African victory seem fairly generous.

The outcome of the third ODI could well be decided by the toss of a coin. Whoever wins the toss will more than likely pick to bat first which could be crucial.

History shows us that in Sydney, the team who bats first in day-night matches often has the best of it as the ball starts swinging a lot as the evening draws in making it a tempestuous time for the team batting second.

In accordance with this it is more than likely a batsman nearer the top of the order will be top batsman as the light and moisture are a lot more kindly to those having a knock early on.

Therefore there seems little reason to desert Australia's most in form batsmen Shaun Marsh and Ricky Ponting.

Marsh has been top Australian batsman for the first two ODI's and at 7/2 he will have a lot of supporters. Ponting has given able support from number three and the captain is 3/1 to be top of the pile.

David Warner has the potential to knock a fantastic innings but his form in the game would suggest caution if backing him but 9/2 seems a reasonable price.

For South Africa, as usual Jacques Kallis has been leading the line with an excellent 72 in the second ODI and is unsurprisingly 7/2 favourite to top score again.

Other options include JP Duminy who has been consistently good with the bat recently and is available at odds of 4/1 while Neil McKenzie hit an excellent 71 in the first ODI and is a big looking 6/1 to smash the best score.

For top bowler Ben Hilfanhaus looks the best bet for Australia at 3/1 in the betting having taken two wickets in each of the last two games.

Makhaya Ntini came back to blitz the Aussie tail-end in the second ODI and you wouldn't bet against him doing the same at odds of 7/2 while Albie Morkel is also of interest at 4/1.

One interesting bet is the team to hit most sixes market. There has not been a plethora of sixes but the teams were tied in the first ODI then South Africa hit more in the second ODI.

This suggests there is no reason why the home side are 8/11 while The Proteas are 13/8 which looks a decent wager.

Both teams will be desperate to win this third ODI as it will put that team in an excellent position to go on and win the series.

The toss will be all-important but due to this South Africa look the bet at the prices as the outcome could ultimately hinge on something that is 50/50; suggesting the 6/4 on offer is over priced.

South Africa to hit the most sixes - 13/8
Shaun Marsh top Australian batsman - 7/2
Makhaya Ntini top South African bowler - 7/2

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