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South Africa vs India 1st Test Betting Tips 26/12/2021

Zohaib Ahmed, Senior Author

The first Test between South Africa and India will be played from Dec 26 (Sunday) at SuperSport Park, Centurion. The match is to begin at 1:30 pm IST.

Teams Status

India

India have never won a Test series in South Africa, which makes it one of their final few frontiers. The good thing for them is that they might not get a better chance than this to get the job done.

Not only are South Africa a shadow of their former self, but they also have not played Test cricket since June, India did so recently at home, and defeated defending Test champions New Zealand.

The team management has a selection dilemma on their hands. They will have to pick one of Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari or find a way to somehow squeeze both of them in the playing eleven. Keep in mind that there won’t be any Ravindra Jadeja on this tour so the think tank will have to make adjustments accordingly.

India last toured South Africa in early 2018 and lost the Test series 2-1 despite starting the opening Test in a devastating form that at one point had reduced their hosts to 12-3. But in the last few years, Indian bowlers have gained much more experience, performed in tougher conditions, and generally held their own wherever they have gone. Their batting has always been formidable and this time it’s no different.

South Africa

There was a time when touring South Africa used to be one of the scariest assignments in world cricket, especially for Asian sides scared of bouncy pitches. It’s no more the case.

The Proteas have are a side in transition and have suffered a considerable dip in the quality they have on their books. Their pace attack still has quality but not like the days gone.

Anrich Nortje is out with a hip injury, which means that Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Duanne Olivier are expected to form the core of the pace unit, with Keshav Maharaj providing spin back up.

It’s the batting unit though that is a cause of concern. The last time South Africa hosted India, their middle-order had names such as AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, and Quinton de Kock. They’re all gone except for De Kock and the newcomers are nowhere near their class.

What Do the Sportsbooks Say?

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India are the favourites for this fixture. Parimatch and Sportsbet both have India priced at 2.38, South Africa at 3.35, and Draw at 2.82. Meanwhile, Paripesa has India available for 2.395, South Africa for 3.54, and Draw for 2.87.


Tipster’s Angle

Tip: South Africa to win @ 3.54

The last three visitors to South Africa that have played Test series are Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and England. South Africa dominated Sri Lanka but got dominated by the other two, which suggests what their level is: too strong for weak sides but too weak for strong sides. We still want to stake a little something on them. Why? Because some of their batters, especially Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen, have shown promise, even if that’s been in other formats. We know there is a massive gulf in the quality of both sides but India are coming from India, which means they might need a bit of adjustment to the rising delivery. They will get that done eventually but in the early exchanges, the home side has a chance to spring a surprise or two. The odds have been sourced from Paripesa.

Tip: Dean Elgar to score more than 26.5 runs @ 1.85

Over the last three matches played at the Centurion, Dean Elgar has averaged 37.80, which is not too great but not too bad either. He also scored a decent 95 during this stretch. With Quinton de Kock also now looking himself of late, Elgar, the captain, will have to shoulder much of the scoring responsibility. We think he should at least cover the spread of 26.5. The odds have been sourced from Sportsbet.

Conclusion

It’s an extremely bold call but we’re going to take a small punt here and back the Proteas to spring arguably their biggest surprise in recent years. After all, stranger things happen in the world, don’t they?

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