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Weather points to Test stalemate as England meet South Africa

| 18.07.2012

England and South Africa kick off their Test Series at the Oval on Thursday, and the fact that the draw is deemed the most likely outcome by Ladbrokes at 5/4 tells its own story.

There is very little to choose between two of the finest Test sides in world cricket, as the immensely dangerous attacks of either nation look set to serve up an exciting bout.

However, punters should be wary with regards to restricted game time in the match, as forecasted rain could aid in trimming the game short, making those 5/4 odds about the draw seem yet more appealing.

An English victory is touted as a 7/4 chance meanwhile, and punters taking this price on will be encouraged by the fact that England have won each of the past four Oval meetings between these sides by at least four wickets.

However, to do so again, the home side would likely require a big-hitting performance from the likes of Kevin Pietersen, whom many will argue is not in the correct frame of mind to play, following recent off-field controversy.

Also, factoring in the fast bowling talents of the opposition, including current world number one ranked Dale Steyn, it could prove extremely difficult to rack up runs at a quick rate.

South Africa, who will partake in the tour without former wicketkeeper Mark Boucher for the first time since his retirement, are 11/4 hopes for success, though it should be noted that the Graeme Smith-led outfit have yet to win at the Oval.

They will be encouraged by the fact that they were the last side to inflict a home series defeat on England however, with many of the current squad competing in their 2008 triumph.

Again though, the capabilities of English pace bowlers such as James Anderson and Stuart Broad will make it difficult for South Africa to tot up runs at the required rate to make a difference.

Therefore, the draw appears the most likely outcome, and is generously priced at 5/4.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee