South Africa To Take Series Lead At The Oval

Philander has been a thorn in England's side

South Africa fought back in their Test series against England, hammering the Three Lions in a 340-run victory at Trent Bridge.

Joe Root’s men were brought back down to earth from the euphoria of their brilliant win at Lord’s, with a humbling defeat.

The Proteas bowled with accuracy and quality as Vernon Philander caused havoc in England’s top order, putting Keaton Jennings and Gary Ballance under extreme pressure.

Root’s men paid the price for a lack of discipline with the bat, while their bowling was inconsistent, with only James Anderson flourishing with the ball in hand.

Due to their struggles in the last contest, England are expected to make changes to their starting line-up for the third match of the series at The Oval.

Ballance, who may have been dropped anyway, misses out after sustaining a fractured finger in the second Test and is likely to be replaced at number three by Essex batsman Tom Westley, although Dawid Malan has also been included in the squad.

Mark Wood failed to get in the wicket column in Nottingham and could be rested in favour of Toby Roland-Jones. The Middlesex man may get the nod ahead of spinner Liam Dawson, who struggled in his third outing, failing to justify his curious selection.

South Africa will likely make just the one change in their bid to seize on their momentum. Kagiso Rabada should return to the side after serving his suspension as Duanne Olivier will be the candidate to drop out of the side.

Faf du Plessis’ presence played a vital role in his team’s victory and he will be eager for them to maintain their form to take the lead heading into the final match.

England’s Top Batsman

Root has to lead the way for England

Root seemed to be the only England player with the exception of Alastair Cook, who seemed capable of batting against the Proteas’ potent bowling attack.

In difficult conditions he counter-attacked the pace of Chris Morris, Morne Morkel and the guile of Philander to make a brisk half-century.

However, the 26-year-old played a loose shot on 78 to be dismissed short of his 13th Test hundred – something that has become too much of a habit for the Yorkshireman compared to his counterparts at the top of the game.

Once he was dismissed, the Three Lions fell apart in their first innings, which proved to be fatal in his side’s hopes of winning the contest.

It proved how reliant England have become on Root’s runs and it will be imperative for him to lead the way at The Oval with another strong performance to get them back on track.

Root has a good record at the ground, averaging over 50 and scoring one hundred in his four matches. However, the 26-year-old has failed to notch a half-century in his last four innings at The Oval and will have work hard to find his touch in London.

Backing the England captain at +275   with PaddyPower to lead the run column again for his team is the bet to take.

Westley notched an unbeaten century against the Proteas in a contest at the end of June, which gave the selectors the nudge to make him the next cab off the rank to come into the side. He has an opportunity to nail down a permanent place in the team and will be determined to take his chance.

South Africa’s Top Batsman

The burden of expectations was lifted off the shoulders of Dean Elgar as he handed back the captaincy to Du Plessis at Trent Bridge.

He got off to a poor start in the first innings, albeit in extremely difficult conditions, the 30-year-old came to the fore in the second to take the game away from England with a fine knock of 80.

Setting the tone will be extremely important in the third match of the series as the Three Lions will be aiming to hit back to attempt to swing momentum back in their favour.

Although the opener was undone by a delivery from Anderson in the first innings, he showed great composure in the second and he will be desperate to build on his decent form, having also notched a half-century at Lord’s.

Therefore backing Elgar at +400   with Bet365 to top score for the Proteas could be a solid option.

Hashim Amla will have been frustrated not to have scored a century at Trent Bridge, notching impressive scores of 78 and 87. It marked a return to form for the 34-year-old following a difficult opener at Lord’s where he made a combined 40 runs.

Amla made his career-high score at The Oval last time out, with a sumptuous unbeaten triple-hundred. It will be unlikely that he achieves the same feat this time around, but he could be eyeing the 27th century of his career.

Top Bowler

Philander has been a thorn in England's side

Credit: Reuters

Philander has tormented England’s batsmen in the opening two matches of the series, especially in the top order against the left-handers. The 31-year-old is averaging 18.50 with the ball thus far, taking eight scalps and often getting the Proteas off to the perfect start in their bowling duties.

He will be expected to lead the way once again for Du Plessis’ men, although this time he will have one less left-hander to work against due to the absence of Ballance. However, should he continue to operate at the high level he has produced in the first two Tests then it will be no surprise to see him strike with regularity once again.

As a result, backing Philander at odds of +400   with BetBright to lead the wicket column for both sides at The Oval is the option to take, even though Anderson looked in decent knick at Trent Bridge.

Winner

England need a response from their defeat at the hands of Du Plessis’ men at Trent Bridge, but their level of difficulty will only increase as Rabada returns to the fold determined to prove a point.

The Three Lions’ batting has been fragile, although the same could be said for South Africa. The contest could be decided by whoever wins the toss to capitalise on batting conditions at The Oval at their peak on the opening two days of the Test.

However, the Proteas will be riding high and there are too many question marks regarding England’s batting outside of Root and Cook for England to fend off a quality attack. Take South Africa at +200   with Betstars for this contest.

Tips Summary

South Africa To Beat England 3rd Test
Thursday 27th July – Monday 31st July 2017
Odds: +200

Joe Root To Be England’s Top Batsman
Thursday 27th July – Monday 31st July 2017
Odds: +275

Dean Elgar To Be South Africa’s Top Batsman
Thursday 27th July – Monday 31st July 2017
Odds: +400

Vernon Philander To Be Top Bowler
Thursday 27th July – Monday 31st July 2017
Odds: +400