England v South Africa Betting Tips: Cook to lead by example with the bat
Thomas Giles gives his predictions for the first innings of England’s upcoming test match against South Africa at Lord’s.
England test summer gets underway on Thursday as they face South Africa, who they have beaten in both the One Day and T20 formats in the last couple of months.
England Batting – 1st Innings Tips
Alastair Cook has been in fantastic form for Essex with 667 runs in seven County Championship matches – an average of 66.70 – scoring three 100s in that time. However, there is a concern regarding Cook’s form against South Africa with his test average being a rather low 35.53. Having said that, the former England captain is in such great form right now that you would certainly back him to score a 50 in his first innings which is priced at 6/4.
One player that has really come to the fore of late for South Africa is fast bowler Kagiso Rabada with seven wickets in the three ODI matches against England prior to the Champions Trophy – putting him top of the ODI bowling rankings. However, it is not just ODI matches where the 22-year-old is dangerous with his test record reading 71 wickets taken in 17 test matches and an economy rate of just 3.48. I would certainly look at backing Rabada to be South Africa’s top wicket taker in England’s first innings at 11/4 given the confidence he is oozing at the moment.
South Africa Batting – 1st Innings Tips
Hashim Amla is an excellent test batsman with an average of 49.39 from 103 test matches and the 34-year-old has been in brilliant form of late, albeit in One Day cricket, scoring at least 50 in five of his last eight matches. It is also worth noting that the Durban-born right-hander has an excellent record against England on their own turf with an average of 75.70 – only the great Don Bradman averages higher of players with over 500 test runs. Additionally, Amla became the only South African to score a triple hundred in test cricket – coming against England at the Oval in 2012. Amla to score a 50 is very good value at 13/8.
However, one opponent that Amla will be fearful of facing is Stuart Broad who has dismissed him seven times – the joint most times by any bowler in test format. In fact, Broad has taken an impressive 19 wickets in six test matches against South Africa in England and 50 overall in 14 tests. Additionally, the Nottinghamshire man took 13 wickets in England’s last test series against South Africa. The 31-year-old clearly loves facing the South Africans so I would back him to be England’s leading wicket taker in South Africa’s first innings at 4/1.
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