Cricket Betting: South Africa v Australia – Second Test

South Africa v Australia Second Test

Friday March 9 – 7:00pm AEDT

After claiming a spiteful, but ultimately comprehensive victory in the series opener, Australia will be hoping to maintain their recent unbeaten record in South Africa by notching up another win over the Proteas in the second test at St George’s Park, beginning on Friday.


South Africa

The hosts continued their indifferent record in Durban as they were overwhelmed in the first test by a rampant Australian side. After losing the toss on a dry surface, the South African quicks struggled for penetration and instead it was left to spinner Keshav Maharaj to do the damage as he claimed 5/123 off 33.4 overs in the Aussies’ first innings total of 351.

However when the Proteas came to bat they found things more difficult against Australia’s pace battery and were shot out for just 162 with an unbeaten 71 from AB de Villiers the lone highlight. South Africa’s bowling attack then did their best to get their side back in the game as another four wickets to Maharaj and 3/47 from Morne Morkel restricted Australia to 227, leaving the home side with the tall task of 417 for victory.

After slumping to 4/49, a sublime 143 from opener Aiden Markram, coupled with the return to form of ‘keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock (83) gave South Africa a glimmer of hope, however they were eventually bowled out for 298, handing the Australians a 118-run victory. Conditions at St George’s Park will likely dictate whether the hosts persist with all-rounder Theunis de Bruyn or decide to recall speedstar Lungi Ngidi, however the match appears to have come too early for injured spearhead Dale Steyn.


Australia

Australia maintained their recent run of form in test cricket by thoroughly outplaying the Proteas on their own soil. Promising starts to David Warner (51), Steve Smith (56) and Shaun Marsh (40) built their first innings platform, however the key knock was provided by all-rounder Mitchell Marsh who continued his stunning renaissance with a brilliant 96.

With the ball it was man of the match Mitchell Starc who tore through South Africa in their first innings, claiming 5/34, although seasoned off-spinner Nathan Lyon also proved his worth on the slower surface with 3/50.

Although the Aussies will be less pleased with their efforts in the second innings with the bat, they will have been relieved to see besieged opener Cameron Bancroft register just his second test half-century as he top-scored with a fluent 53.

With the Proteas requiring a record fourth-innings total to register an unlikely victory it was Australia’s new-ball pair of Starc (4/75) and Josh Hazlewood (3/61) who ensured that they never looked likely, while Mitchell Marsh chipped in with the key wicket of Markram to claim his first scalp since returning to the test team. With a settled side, no changes are expected to Australia’s starting XI as they look to ram home their advantage and continue their climb up the ICC rankings.


St George's Park

The Proteas have a much better record at St George’s Park than at Kingsmead with four wins and a draw from their past five tests here. The side batting first is unbeaten in the last six tests at the ground so the toss looks crucial, while opener Dean Elgar (451 runs at an average of 75.16) and veteran seamer Morne Morkel (16 wickets at an average of 17.06) both boast impressive records at Port Elizabeth.


Key Stats

  • South Africa haven’t lost consecutive home tests in the same series since 2009.
  • South Africa are unbeaten in their last five tests at St George’s Park.
  • South Africa’s last 11 tests have produced a result.
  • Australia are now unbeaten in their last seven tests.
  • However Australia have still won only three of their past ten tests away from home.
  • Australia have drawn only two of their past 23 tests.

The Verdict

After a dominant performance in Durban, Australia have come in to clear favourites ahead of the home side, with the draw considered the least likely result.

The most disappointing aspect of South Africa’s performance in Durban was their batsmen’s inability to handle the Australian attack, especially on a relatively benign surface that did their bowling attack few favours. Nevertheless that attack remains one of the most effective in world cricket and their recent record at home – particularly at St George’s Park – suggests that they are likely to bounce back here and find themselves right in the series.

However the Australian side is not one I wish to oppose at present, particularly in the field where their bowling unit looks capable of doing damage in any conditions. With Usman Khawaja the only member of their top six not to reach 40 in the first test, their batting looks more assured as well, although we shouldn’t completely overlook their historically poor returns on foreign shores.

The third option is the draw and although this is the longest priced option, there’s a strong argument that it should be even bigger. Neither side has shown a predisposition to play out a stalemate with none of the Proteas last 11 tests ending in a draw, while a result has been reached in 21 of Australia’s last 23. Both sides possess deadly bowling attacks that have shown the adaptability to prosper on all surfaces, while each batting line-up has displayed signs of weakness, especially against the moving ball.

Furthermore the weather appears to be of no concern in Port Elizabeth and after a drier surface back-fired on the home side, the curator at St George’s Park is likely to prepare a quicker pitch with plenty of sideways movement which will only further encourage a result. So while the draw may already be a relatively big price, we’re adamant it should be even larger and will be laying the draw from the outset.


Betting Strategy

 LAY – Draw at 6.00 or better for 3 units.


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