Match date · 26 Dec 2019 · 00:00 IST

South Africa vs England Day 1 match prediction

England will lock horns with South Africa in the first Test of the four-match Test series of the World Test Championship at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Boxing Day.

England has had a forgettable year when it comes to the longest format of the game having won just four out of 11 Test matches and losing five of them (the other two were drawn). Skipper Joe Root will want to end the year on a high with a win against South Africa but that is an uphill task for sure. The Proteas too would want to get ahead of this year as quickly as possible as they have only managed to win just two out of the seven Tests and lost the remaining five that they have played in this calendar year with their last victory, which came against Pakistan back in January.

Meanwhile, you can buckle up and as I will ensure that you earn a lot of cash when these two heavyweights collide at SuperSport Park on the first Day of the Test match on Thursday. How am I going to ensure that? I am going to take you through three of the best markets to place your bet on and that is how you will earn way more than your investments.

Root shines with confidence

Joe Root to be top batsman in the first innings for England @ 3.50

There is no need to introduce this pool of unimaginable talent from Yorkshire as we are all wary of his meteoric rise in the gentlemen’s game over the years. It has not been a great year for England Cricket when it comes to playing in the longest format of the game. But that does not mean that it can end that way for Root as well.

Having scored a brilliant double century against New Zealand in the final Test match of the series at Hamilton, Root will be high on morale and confidence walking into this long tour of South Africa. The year 2019 has not been kind to the world’s one of the finest batting talent as he has managed 774 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 36.85 and has only two centuries and four half centuries under his belt.

However, those numbers do no justice to what Root is actually capable of doing in Test cricket and that too against South Africa. He loves playing against the Proteas and the reason why I am backing him is because he has notched up 847 runs at a healthy average of 56.46 with two centuries and six half centuries. The statistics are equally shiny when he visits South Africa – in four matches he has 386 runs at an average of 55.14 and has scored one century and three fifties. Root has played only a single Test match at Centurion and has 96 runs to his name. Bet 365 is offering odds 3.50 for the England skipper to be the top batsman for the visitors in the first innings and there is no way you can miss out on this market!

Lethal weapon brings hope to SA

Kagiso Rabada to the top team bowler for South Africa in the first innings @ 3.25

Kagiso Rabada is one of those tearaway pacers who have haunted England in the past with his intimidating pace and bounce. In 2019, the young seamer has picked up 26 wickets in seven Test matches at a strike rate of 47.7 but trust me he can do way better than this as he has been doing in the last four years ever since his debut.

Talking about being better, when Rabada faces England, there is something in him that makes him shine above the rest of the bowlers. He has picked up 38 scalps in just six matches against England at a sound strike rate of 38.6. He also has three five wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul as well against Root and co. The last time he played against England at this very venue, Rabada picket up 13 wickets in that match powering the hosts to a superb 280-runs victory. 

When he is playing at his home turf, he is even better – in 23 Tests he has managed to rack up 127 wickets at a strike rate of 32.7. It is understandable how well equipped he is, and he will be put to use as one of the lethal weapons come this series by Faf du Plessis. An odds of 3.25 for this brutal seamer to be the top team bowler for the Proteas in the first innings and here is this opportunity for you to win big.

England will stand as winners

England will defeat the Proteas

England to win @ 2.37

England have played at a higher level than the Proteas in the longest format of the game in this calendar year. The transitional phase has not been in favour of South Africa and therefore, there form has been affected. Moreover, the visitors have somewhat managed to thwart South Africa’s reign at Centurion SuperSport Park. In five matches, England have lost only once and won one and drawn the rest of the matches on a ground on which the Proteas have reigned supreme in 19 out of the 24 Test matches.

England have had their share of happy memories in South Africa having won two Test series in 2004-05 and in 2015-16. However, England have not beaten South Africa at Centurion since 2000 and it will be interesting to see whether the hosts can hold on to their fortress. It is extremely unlikely though as England have been bolstered with the return of Jonny Bairstow, James Anderson and Mark Wood. It is understandable that Root is going to field his best playing XI against South Africa and in a way win a Test after almost 20 years at this venue. Ladbrokes is offering odds of 2.37 for England to win, which is most likely to happen under these circumstances.