Cricket: India vs. South Africa Second Test
India – 0.55
South Africa – 9.00
Draw – 2.20
India and South Africa would appear to have very different goals when they take to the pitch for the second Test in Pune starting on Thursday. India took the first Test in fine fashion, routing their visitors by 203 runs in Visakhapatnam. It was a near-perfect display by the Indian Test squad, mixing attacking batting with dominant bowling. South Africa, on the other hand, will be hoping to take the series to a deciding match but will need to be vastly improved in every facet of their game to do so after their underwhelming opening performance.
The best part of the first Test win for India was that their opening partnership finally seems to have found its footing. Rohit Sharma looked unbeatable at times as he put up scores of 176 and 127 for his two innings, while Mayank Agarwal’s first innings total of 215 off of 371 balls was the stuff that Test match wins are built around. His second innings score of seven, however, is something that clearly needs to be improved on.
This is a heavy-duty batting lineup that has every chance of exploding again against a suspect South African bowling attack.
The South Africans need to find more support for Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock, a pair of players that managed to bat around to claim a century each in the first Test. They also need to be better at playing off of the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin, who has a series haul of eight wickets to this point after taking 7/145 in the first South African innings.
The South Africans simply need to get more out of the top and middle of their order, with Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn, in particular, failing to impress to any level in the first Test.
India are the clear favourites to win this one and it hard to back South Africa as the underdog given how bad they were in the first Test. They simply had no answer for the Indian bowling in the areas of the order where it mattered as they slumped to a heavy defeat. Therefore we will look instead to other markets and areas to find some betting value.
India Top First Innings Bowler
While Ashwin was the dominant wicket-taker in the first innings for India, he was much quieter the second time the visiting team came in to bat. Instead, it was Ravindra Jadeja who took 4/87 and shut down South Africa. We like Jadeja to continue his fine form from that innings into the second Test and to be the top Indian bowler at 2.00 with BetXchange.
Man of the Match
It feels like it is time for Virat Kohli to go off again. The last time he top-scored in the first innings of a Test was almost a year ago against Australia and he is clearly overdue. His odds of 5.50 to be Man of the Match with BetXchange look awfully tempting if you believe, as many do, that the best batsman in the world has another big innings in him this weekend.