India would not have wanted to be travelling to Johannesburg to play a dead rubber but another loss leaves South Africa with an unassailable 2-0 lead in this three-match series. For the final game, starting on Wednesday, both sides will need to make some changes to their line ups but will we see a different result at the end of the five days?
The bookies certainly aren’t expecting any change in the outcome and going into this match, the South Africans start as favourites at odds of 1.72 with Betfair and Betway. The same two bookmakers have victory for India listed at 6.50 while the draw is a little shorter this week at 3.10 with Betfair.
That draw price may have a lot to do with a very poor weather forecast that shows the potential for heavy rain and some thunderstorms between days two and five and while we often see these predictions being proved wrong, some improved Indian batting, allied to some lost time on the pitch, could make that draw the best option for this final test.
Match Odds Summary: South Africa: 1.72 (Betway), The Draw 3.10 (Betfair – Editor’s Pick), India 6.50 (Betfair)
But who are those batters that can give India a stronger platform in this game? Picking a winner in the tourists’ top batsman market could be tougher this time because, although we expect Ajinkya Rahane to come in, we don’t know who will miss out. Dinesh Karthik may also come in behind the stumps so what are our options here?
One man certain to take the field is skipper Virat Kohli who starts as favourite to score most Indian runs on first innings at 3.60 with Betfair. Our favoured pick for the first two games was Cheteshwar Pujara but after slow scoring and even slower running between the wickets, we should probably avoid him at 4.20 with Betfair again.
Rahane comes into the frame at 6.00 and that figure is also available for KL Rahul and Murali Vijay. Shikhar Dhawan is shorter at 5.00 while Rohit Sharma at 9.50 and Hardik Pandya at 10.00 offer the value down the order. All of those prices are with Betfair once again.
For South Africa, there has been an injury scare over Aiden Markram while Temba Bavuma is definitely ruled out, allowing Theunis De Bruin to take his place. In the hosts’ version of the top batsman market, AB De Villiers starts as favourite at 4.00 with Betfair while Hashim Amla is on offer at 4.50 with Betfair again. Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar and Faf Du Plessis are all at 5.00 with Betfair and with de Bruin in and Quinton De Kock struggling for runs, it’s hard to see past these five names.
As for an overall tip, there are so many questions over India’s selection but Kohli is a guaranteed starter and after a good series on a personal level with the bat, he would have been our preference anyway.
Top Batsman Odds Summary: India: Kohli 3.60 (Betfair – Editor’s Pick), Pujara 4.20 (Betfair), Dhawan 5.00 (Betfair), Rahul 6.00 (Betfair), Vijay 6.00 (Betfair), Rohit Sharma 9.50 (Betfair), Pandya 10.00 (Betfair).
South Africa: De Villiers 4.00 (Betfair), Amla 4.50 (Betfair), Markram 5.00 (Betfair), Du Plessis 5.00 (Betfair), Elgar 5.00 (Betfair).
Other Side Bets
We’d opted to take India for a first innings lead in the last game and didn’t quite get that but it’s even more tempting this time at odds of 3.20 with Royal Panda. However, we’ll switch to a format that’s been OK for us in recent games and take the highest run scorer to take the Man of the Match award.
After losing the first two games, it would seem an unlikely option to back an Indian player but, if our prediction of a draw comes in, a big effort from Kohli could round off this test series with a nice profit at 8.00 with Betfair.
Man of the Match Odds Summary:
De Villiers 7.00 (Betfair), Kohli 8.00 (Betfair – Editor’s Pick), Amla 9.00 (Betfair), Rabada 12.00 (Betfair), Ngidi 17.00 (Betfair), Pujara 15.00 (Betfair), Rahane 17.00 (Betfair), Dhawan 17.00 (Betfair), Pandya 21.00 (Betfair).