Cricket Betting: England v South Africa 2nd Test Preview


First Test Review 

When England closed the first day at the Oval on 267/3 few could have envisioned they would suffer an innings defeat. But that’s exactly what happened, and now they must show vast improvement in order to maintain their status as the best Test side in the world.

The tourists came to life after a flat first day last time, as they made England’s much-heralded bowling attack toil for 189 overs, amassing 637 for the loss of just a couple of wickets. Dale Steyn then demonstrated exactly why he is the best bowler in world cricket as he took five wickets to lead his side to a convincing innings and 12 run win. 

Team News 

England will be desperate to put on a much better showing at Headingley this week, and they will be looking to do so with yet another new face trying to fill their troublesome number six spot. James Taylor is the latest cab off the rank as he steps in to replace Ravi Bopara, who is unavailable for personal reasons. 

The diminutive Nottinghamshire batsman has been flashing in and out of the selectors’ thoughts for a few years now, but his runs for the Lions combined with an ambitious move to Trent Bridge to play first division cricket meant his call-up was inevitable once Bopara had pulled out.

Some pundits speculate that England may flirt with the idea of playing an extra bowler here, but with seamer-friendly Headingley conditions expected to suit England’s current attack it is almost certain that Steven Finn and Graham Onions will miss out again.

There really is nothing to report in terms of team news for South Africa, with Gary Kirsten certain to name the same side that thoroughly outplayed England at the Oval. The tourists played out an uneventful tour match draw at Worcester in between the two Tests, and with no fresh injury concerns their team will remain unchanged.

Predictions

Andrew Strauss and his side were embarrassed in the opening Test, so expect them to come out hard at Headingley as they look to bounce back and make a statement of intent. In order to achieve this they will rely on much-improved performances from their star performers, and that is why I am backing Kevin Pietersen (top England batsman 5.00) and Jimmy Anderson (top England bowler 3.25) to play key roles.

South Africa will be in bullish mood heading into this game after their near perfect performance during a first Test in which all of their major players contributed to a dominant victory. It is unsurprising that Hashim Amla is favourite to top-score (4.25) after his unbeaten 311 at the Oval, but he can be vulnerable early on so I will instead back the immovable Jacques Kallis (4.50). When it comes to their bowling it would be careless to look beyond the world’s best bowler Dale Steyn (3.00) given his devastating second innings spell last week, so I won’t.

England covet their World Number One status beyond anything else but with showers forecast on each day of the Test they will likely have to settle for a draw (3.00) at best here, setting up a mouth-watering series decider at Lord’s next month.