England’s Test side, in particular, will be glad to see the back of 2019, which will go down as one of England’s more forgettable years.
It ended in yet another disappoint defeat, as the Proteas left Centurion with a comfortable 107-run victory.
Can England bounce back and get the new decade off to the best possible start? Or will South Africa inflict yet more misery? Head over to our website for all our cricket odds.
Joe Denly to pass 24.5 first-innings runs – 4/5
Dom Bess to be England highest first-innings wicket-taker – 12/1.
Rassie van der Dussen to score a first-innings fifty – 9/4
Vernon Philander to take over 2.5 first-innings wickets at 21/20.
Once again the batsman didn’t cover themselves in glory in the first Test, collapsing from 142-3, to 181 all out in the first innings. With the benefit of hindsight, Joe Root’s decision to bat second on a tricky pitch that was always going to deteriorate didn’t help, but England’s batsman really need to address their tendency to capitulate. Joe Denly was perhaps the only batsman to emerge with any real credit, following his first-innings fifty, and him to pass 24.5 runs and Root to pass 33.5 runs in the first innings of this Test look good prices at 4/5 and 17/20 respectively.
With illness already having ravaged the England camp, Jofra Archer is the latest man to be doubtful for the tourists. It may save them for having to make a difficult decision between Archer, Anderson and Broad as they look to bring in a spinner on what looks a dry pitch in Cape Town. Dom Bess looks set to get the nod ahead of Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson, and particularly if England bat first, Bess could be a contender for leading first-innings wicket-taker at 12/1. If you fancy a seamer instead, Sam Curran bowled beautifully in the first innings at Centurion and caused the South African top order all sorts of trouble with his late swing and different angle. If there’s any movement in the pitch, don’t discount the Surrey all-rounder from finishing as top innings wicket-taker at 13/2.
The Proteas should be full of confidence after outperforming the tourists in all departments in the first Test. The mercurial Quentin de Kock showed his quality in the first innings with a fine counter-attacking knock that forced the pressure back onto the England bowlers. At 6/1, he’s well priced to once again be the South African’s top first innings scorer and Rassie van der Dussen is a good price at 9/4 to follow up his fifty in the first Test with another one here.
South Africa’s front-line seamers both came to the fore in the first Test, with Vernon Philander getting four first-innings scalps and Kagiso Rabada following suit in the second. It hasn’t always been express pace that has troubled England, and Philander will once again be dangerous with the swinging ball. We’re backing the veteran bowler, playing in his final Test series, to take over 2.5 first-innings wickets at 21/20.