India kick off a three-game test series with South Africa at Centurion on Boxing Day – Richard Mann is keen to bet on the series.

Just as the English fans wake up on Boxing Day, stunned by too many snowballs and tentatively checking the score in the third ash test in Australia they can at least feast on a first-class cricket test in South Africa as the Proteas begin a three-game series with India at Centurion.

For Virat Kohli’s India, this series feels like the last frontier has proved untouchable at home for several years now and has recorded important series wins on the road, especially in Australia and then England in the summer. last – for this whole series is technically still alive after the Old Trafford test was dropped due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Aside from their final loss at the ICC Trial Championship to New Zealand – when they were clearly undercooked – India was hardly wrong as Kohli’s passion for trial cricket rubbed off on a group of players who also took on the challenges of the sport’s longest format and, most importantly, putting their skills to the test in foreign conditions.

For South Africa, they are at a completely different point in their journey after saying goodbye to many of their senior players and sinking a number of promising new players. Dean Elgar remains however and was the team’s captain in the 2-0 win over the West Indies earlier in the year.

South Africa is a difficult place to visit for any team, especially the subcontinent, with their fast, bouncy throws ensuring that batsmen need to be able to drop plenty of balls early in the face of considerable swing and seam motion. , while playing well with the back foot is an absolute must.

As such, India will certainly feel keenly the absence of Rohit Sharma who showed another side to his game by scoring so strongly in England just a few months ago. In his absence, KL Rahul will have to fight well at the top of the order, as will Kohli who hasn’t had the most productive time of late and has every right to be a bit nuts after being recently sacked as as captain of the ODI.

Of the two companies that have currently valued the series batsman markets, Unibet looks terribly short on Kohli at 5/4, with bet365 at roughly 2/1 for the 33-year-old to finish the series in as India’s top scorer.

Can Kohli get back to his best form?

In Kohli’s favor is that hitting at number four should give him some protection against the new ball and I have long believed that opening the bat in South Africa is the hardest job in cricket.

When India made its last tour of South Africa in early 2018, Kohli was by far the most productive of Indian batsmen – scoring 286 points in the three-game streak with an average of 47.66. Whether he’s quite the same player now is the big question.

Nonetheless, he’ll be relieved that he doesn’t have to worry about Anrich Nortje, following news that the South African paceman will miss the series due to injury.

Kagiso Rabada will always be a big threat, of course, but the batter always gets easier in South Africa once the new ball has been negotiated. This ball usually gets softer, the hot weather invariably burns any green grass on the field, and the fast wickets and fast outfields certainly give batsmen some value for their shots. Once settled, runs tend to come quickly.

I won’t bet Kohli at these prices, although the Unibet 10/1 offer on Rishabh Pant will certainly be of interest to some, while Shreyas Iyer recently had a memorable first series against New Zealand and is another option in the game. intermediate order.

My concern with Pant is that he still hasn’t found a viable method against the ball on the move – and he seemed unanswered in England – while I’m convinced Iyer could have serious problems against the ball on the move on these quick throws if South Africa adopt such tactics.

At higher prices, Hanuma Vihari is an interesting runner, given he had some success in Australia last winter and played county cricket in England.

At this point, it’s hard to know for sure if Vihari will make India’s starting XI, and so will Shardul Thakur, but if they do and are docked in the middle order, don’t be afraid to have one or the other aside in any top India sleeve beater markets, or even make it half a century north of 3/1.

Make hay with a medium order

I cannot stress enough that it is usually easier to hit middle order in South Africa than to hit higher, and I will train my betting strategies accordingly.

In 2018 Pakistan toured South Africa and it was striking how many times number six and seven have scored the best goals, or come close to the best score, when it is from number five in the batting order that Kusal Perera hit that unforgettable 153 unbeaten in Durban in 2019.

In 2019/2020, Ollie Pope averaged 88.66 for England from number six, while in the same series Ben Stokes averaged 45.42 out of five and Joe Root averaged 45, 28 out of four.

Last winter Sri Lanka returned and in the first test at Centurion they came down from 54-2 to 396 as the numbers four, five, six and seven in the batting order got scores of 85. , 79, 49 and 66 respectively. True to form, the stick in the middle order had proven to be much easier. It won’t always be the case, but I think it will play out that way more often than not.

Van man for Proteas

And so, I will support South Africa number four RASSIE VAN DER DUSSEN to finish the series at the top of the top scorers in the Proteas series.

I am a huge fan of van der Dussen and he is slowly but surely finding his way in the cricket test having already amassed some impressive numbers in white ball cricket. A big success at the recent T20 World Cup, van der Dussen is now averaging 65.56 in ODI.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of about a test average of 38.12, but I think it’s better than that, and the scores of 48, 46, and 75 * in that aforementioned series in the West Indies suggest that after 10 tests the penny begins to drop with it.

That’s not to say that van der Dussen is just a white ball crasher – far from it – and even I have been amazed at how much power he has displayed in the shorter formats over the past 12 months or so.

I think he’s a very good test-match batsman in the making and the patience he’s shown in the Caribbean, coupled with a weak backlift and generally tight technique, should help him fight off the fast attack. from India. Mainly, I think number four in order will be the ideal solution.

Finally, with Kock’s Quinton likely to miss a game, if not two, for the birth of his first child, this seems like the perfect time to bet on van der Dussen who was ranked 4/1 for the top South. Drummer from the Africa series by Unibet and bet365. If you are able to get along with these companies, van der Dussen is a must-have material.

For those not in that position, the hope is that a few more companies assess the playoff markets over the next few days, while siding with van der Dussen on a round-by-set basis is another strategy to consider. consider, but preferably when de Kock is not playing.

Posted at 4:25 p.m. GMT on 12/23/21

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