By News Team
23rd January 2020
England round off their Test series in South Africa with the final contest at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Ahead of Friday’s opening day, we’ve previewed the encounter as England aim to wrap up the series after their comprehensive win in Port Elizabeth.
Hosts lacking in confidence and quality
Though South Africa were good winners of the first Test, they have been thoroughly outclassed in the previous two meetings, most recently in Port Elizabeth where England’s new ‘spin twins’ of captain Joe Root and Dom Bess led their side to an innings victory. South Africa are clearly struggling to replace the greats of yesteryear, with the huge holes left by the likes of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers showing no signs of being filled.
Captain Faf du Plessis looks like he’s carrying the weight of his nation on his back and his batting form has slumped dramatically as a result. With his lack of runs, it’s hard to see how the Proteas are going to make scores big enough to be competitive. To make matters worse for him and the South Africans, they’ve lost star paceman Kagiso Rabada, who is banned for the final Test and he’ll be missed hugely.
All in all, the 11/4 on them winning the final Test doesn’t really appeal.
England starting to piece it together
Though this is an average South African side, things appear to be slowly falling into place for Root’s England. Having chopped and changed their side and often leaving themselves with an unbalanced 11, they seem to have finally settled on a team that can be competitive and they are thriving as a result. Dominic Sibley continues to demonstrate plenty of the attributes of a Test match opener, while Ollie Pope’s heroics in Port Elizabeth show England might have found the man they’ve been looking for in the middle order.
Bess was a revelation in that game and if he can continue to bowl as well as that going forward, England might have found another hidden gem. He’s 9/2 to be England’s top first innings bowler, while his country are 5/6 to win just their fourth Test in Johannesburg. There has only been one drawn Test at the Wanderers since 2000 and it’s 3/1 for that to happen this time around.
Tourists can round off tour in style
Since the turn of the century, South Africa have won a modest nine of their 19 Tests at Johannesburg and it’s really hard to fancy them here. Rabada’s absence is a big blow and their batting order is severely lacking in confidence. In contrast, England are riding a wave at the moment and although they have won just a third of the matches they have played at the Wanderers, you have to side with them at 5/6.
Another market of interest is Joe Denly scoring over 25.5 runs in the first innings at 5/6. The Kent batsman has surpassed that number in three of his last five innings and against a Proteas attack lacking in quality, he can be expected to profit again.