England and South Africa poised for final Test clash
England and South Africa contest the final Test of their four-match series this weekend, with Manchester’s Old Trafford the venue.
It’s been an intriguing duel, with England waltzing to victory at Lord’s and the Oval, while the Proteas did likewise at Trent Bridge.
So it’s anyone’s guess how this final clash will play out.
Statistically though, a stalemate looks unlikely, having occurred just once in England’s last 21 Tests on home soil.
Alastair Cook has settled nicely into his new post-captaincy life, and his 88 at the Oval got the hosts up and running nicely.
The Essex opener is 3/1 to top score in his side’s first innings.
But even Cook was upstaged by Ben Stokes with the bat last time out, as the all-rounder walloped a thumping 112. Plenty will be backing him again at 13/2 to be lead England’s charge in the opening innings.
South Africa will be hoping Dean Elgar maintains the form which saw him post a fine 136 as the Proteas desperately aimed for a draw last time out. 7/2 says he top-scores in the first innings this time.
But the key for the tourists is Vernon Philander. The 32-year-old was nowhere near fully fit at the Oval, and spent the second night of that Test in hospital on a drip.
He says he’s much better now, and having been the only South African bowler to damage England’s openers, that could have a huge say in how this Test – and the series – plays out.
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