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England’s cricketers put on a superb show at Johannesburg to record an emphatic series win with a test to spare, as Stuart Broad took an incredible 6-17 in South Africa’s second innings to lead England to a seven-wicket victory. It was nothing less than the tourists deserved after dominating with both bat and ball as Joe Root again displayed his batting prowess with a brilliant century to set up a thrilling win.
It’s turned out to be a brilliant tour for the English after a first test success where they shocked South Africa to record their first away test victory in since 2012 with a 241-run win. That performance was also their biggest in terms of runs scored against South Africa since 1991, and it was thoroughly deserved. The signs were there that the Proteas dominance of test cricket was waning, and the second test proved to be a war of attrition as both sides racked up 600+ innings in a draw at Cape Town, on a wicket which did little to help either sides bowlers.
That performance didn’t necessarily point to what was coming next, but as we highlighted in our tip on England to win the third test, there were an awful lot of dropped catches by England which could have turned the tide on that particular occasion.
However, very few pundits would have predicted the superiority and authority with which England did secure the third test, with the five-dayer lasting just three days as Broad’s brilliance swept South Africa aside.
Third Test Heroics
South Africa did reasonably well to record 313 all out in their first innings on a pitch that was much more suitable for the bowlers, but England matched that with 323 all out to leave the game finely poised going into the hosts second innings. Joe Root again led the way scoring 110 to record another test century, with openers Cook and Hales again failing to convince as a partnership.
Enter Broad who embarked on one of his trademark hot streaks to take 5-31 balls in a stunning single session. It came immediately after lunch and effectively ended the match as a contest as South Africa’s batsmen simply had no answers. In truth they did little wrong but such was the pace bowler’s hostility and accuracy, they couldn’t live with him. Broad took just six overs to claim the five wickets, dropping just one run which itself was the result of a dropped catch rather than a wayward delivery. James Taylor produced two stunning catches at short leg, and Broad returned later in the day to grab his sixth wicket with an equally superb caught and bowled to remove Faf du Plessis.
South Africa were shell-shocked and dismissed for 83 runs, leaving England with a target of just 74 to take the inspiring victory. The chase became something of a formality and Alastair Cook led the way with 43 as England quickly secured the three-day win.
The Stats That Matter
So onto the fourth test, and while plenty will be lumping on the tourists to make it a 3-0 series victory, we’re advising a cautionary punt on England Draw no Bet at 4/5 1.80 -125 0.80 -1.25 0.80 with Coral, Betfred and Totesport
Although the dressing room must be on could nine, there is always the danger that the intensity will slip with the series already in the bag. Equally, South Africa will be hurting after such a humiliating loss, and despite their own injury and form worries they’ll be desperate to retain a little bit of pride.
The Proteas will take heart from the fact that they have such a great record at Centurion, with their 15-2 win record here by far the best of any venue where they have played 10 tests or more. Among teams who have played more than 20 tests at a cricket ground, the 7.5 win-loss ratio is only bettered by Pakistan who have a 10.5 ratio at the National Stadium in Karachi.
England have a very good record on this pitch with three draws and one win from the four tests they have contested here, but that is tempered by the fact that only three of the current England squad – Alastair Cook, James Anderson and Stuart Broad – have ever played a test here.
South Africa have their injury problems with Dale Steyn set to miss out again while Quinton de Kock will have to prove his fitness before taking the wicketkeeper gloves, but they still have quality with Hashim Amla in particular looking dangerous with the bat.
We’ll take England to continue the fine run of form and win again, but with the safety net of the draw no bet result so our stakes are returned if it ends in another stalemate.
The Bowling and Batting Stakes
While Joe Root and Hashim Amla make plenty of appeal in the batting stakes for England and South Africa respectively, the standout bet is on Stuart Broad to be England’s top bowler at 9/4 3.25 +225 2.25 2.25 -0.44 with Coral, Bet365 and William Hill
Steven Finn has been ruled out with a side strain, and that leaves Broad and Anderson as the main focal point of England’s attack. Anderson is a top top bowler, but he has had a quiet series since his return from injury. Broad could hardly be playing better at the moment and is worth a punt at reasonable odds.
England Draw no Bet
Fourth Test Starts Friday 22nd January, 08:30 GMT
Odds: 4/5 1.80 -125 0.80 -1.25 0.80
Stuart Broad to be England Top Bowler
Fourth Test Starts Friday 22nd January, 08:30 GMT
Odds: 9/4 3.25 +225 2.25 2.25 -0.44