England v South Africa 1st Test Betting Tips
It may only feel like yesterday that Joe Root won his first test cap for England but the 26-year-old has already experienced some huge occasions. None, however, will have quite the same gravitas as his first test as England captain which begins against South Africa on Thursday.
Root has promised that his England team will be aggressive and look to win every test match but the proof will be in the pudding when the number-two ranked test team in the world visit Lord’s.
Top Betting Tips
England have seen a lot of South Africa recently. They played one day cricket before the Champions Trophy and then a three-match T20 series following it.
Test cricket is a completely different kettle of fish though. Both squads are considerably different with the key selection news for England that Gary Ballance has been recalled and Liam Dawson has a chance to continue after making his debut against India in December.
For South Africa, the headline is that Faf du Plesis will miss out to stay by his wife’s side after what was described as the “difficult” birth of their first child.
Dean Elgar is stepping into the breach as captain so both sides will have inexperienced players leading them.
The difference is that Joe Root has long been primed for the role as captain. His position in the slips next to former captain Alastair Cook gave him valuable insight and he is unlikely to be fazed by the size of the task.
In what should be a close game, Root’s captaincy could be the thing that separates these two teams. So, our top betting tip is for England to win at 10/11 with Sky Bet.
In addition to backing England to win, you can also bet on them to have the first innings lead which is 4/6 with Bet365.
The main concern for England ahead of the Lord’s test is the absence through injury of Chris Woakes and Jake Ball. Those two quality pace bowlers will be missed but it opens the door for Toby Roland-Jones.
The 29-year-old has 76 championship wickets since the start of last season which is more than any other seamer. The question is, how will he cope with the extra pressure of test cricket against such strong opposition?
With question marks about the fitness of Stuart Broad and James Anderson, England’s bowlers may have their work cut out for them, especially in the early part of the South African innings. That makes a bet on South Africa to have the highest opening partnership look well priced at 11/10 with BetVictor.
South Africa’s openers should have a better time of it than England’s but it’s the hosts who look to have more strength in depth.
Joe Root is one of the best batsmen in the world, Gary Ballance will be keen to prove himself at number three and Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali each have test batting pedigree.
So, make sure you take the 4/6 that Unibet are quoting about England being the team with the top batsman.
As ever with test matches at Lord’s, the bowlers who are best able to deal with overhead conditions and the slope of the pitch will give their team a big boost.
In that regard, the extra experience of the likes of Broad and Anderson should stand England in good stead. However, those two were both in the England attack when South Africa last played a test a Lord’s in 2012 and they saw Hashim Amla survive 287 balls and put on 121 runs in the second innings.
Amla could be a key player for South Africa once again along with Quinton de Kock. Root must have clear plans to remove the most dangerous South African batsmen and hope that his bowlers can hit the right line and length.
The absence of du Plesis has forced South Africa to re-think and they may go all out by making a big change in the middle order. JP Duminy has been a staple of the team for a while but he may find his place in the team taken by the exciting Aiden Makram.
If they go that route, South Africa may be able to surprise England and boost their chances of victory.
- When South Africa last played test cricket in England in 2012 they won the three-match series 2-0
- England took revenge in the four-match 2015/16 series in South Africa winning 2-1
- South Africa are ranked the second best test nation with England two places below in fourth
- England won both the recent ODI and T20 series against South Africa