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Here are Guy Giles’ cricket betting tips for the first Test match, which starts at 08:00am on Thursday.
South Africa in disarray
South Africa come into this series at their lowest point in years, having been humiliated in their most-recent Test series in India in October.
A 3-0 whitewash – which saw them lose two matches by an innings and the other by 203 runs – leaves the Proteas bottom of the ICC Test Championship table and without a Test win since January.
They have since undergone a radical reshuffle, with Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis all handed key roles, but England should have too much for them in Centurion after an improved performance in their final Test in New Zealand.
England to win
Assistance for Archer
After an explosive start to his Test career over the summer, England star Jofra Archer fared less impressively in New Zealand, taking just two wickets in two matches.
Flat pitches and unhelpful conditions contributed to that dip in form, although captain Joe Root doesn’t yet seem to have worked how best to deploy his biggest weapon.
Archer’s fortunes should improve in South Africa, however, with more swing on offer and a bit of life in the pitches for pacemen.
Jofra Archer to be England’s top wicket taker in the 1st innings
Root back in form
The England captain bounced back beautifully after scoring just 13 runs in the first Test in New Zealand – his worst batting performance in nearly three years as skipper.
A wonderful double century in Hamilton was followed by an unbeaten 72 in England’s first warm-up match against an Invitational XI in Benoni last week.
Root looks more settled at the crease than he has at any point during his captaincy, and looks set for a fruitful series in South Africa, starting in Centurion on Thursday.
Joe Root to score over 33.5 runs in the 1st innings
De Kock the danger
Quinton de Kock is the only South Africa batsman to pass 600 Test runs so far in 2019, with captain Faf du Plessis their next-best performer with just 448.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was one of just two Proteas players to hit a century in India, while his last five Test innings at home have brought one ton and three fifties.
De Kock also hit a century the last time he faced England in South Africa – an unbeaten 129 in Centurion in 2016 – and will once again be a threat with the bat at SuperSport Park.
Quinton de Kock to be South Africa’s top batsman in the 1st innings
Rabada on home soil
Kagiso Rabada has had a lean year by his standards, taking 32 wickets at an average of more than 26, following a table-topping 52 scalps in 2018.
The 24-year-old will likely be back to his best in Centurion, though, having taken at least five wickets in four of his last five Tests in South Africa.
He also has a good record against England, taking 13 wickets in the match when these teams met at SuperSport Park in 2016 for his first 10-wicket haul in Test cricket, eventually ending the three-match series with 22 wickets.
Kagiso Rabada to be South Africa’s top bowler in the 1st innings
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