Morkel to put England to the sword in first innings of final Test

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Dale Steyn may take the most plaudits for his bowling in the series so far, but it is Morne Morkel that can be the scourge of England in the final Test at Lord’s.

Morkel is 3/1 to be the top South African wicket-taker in the first innings in the third Test and he has already helped himself to seven wickets in the series so far.

What is most notable is that six of these wickets have arrived in the first innings of the opening two Tests, with four coming in the opener at The Oval.

Therefore, he has proved far more dangerous when the pitch is almost new in the series.

England’s middle order is expected to be the big weakness, with James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow likely to fill the critical positions of five and six in the batting line up.

Morkel dismissed Taylor in his only innings in the series at Headingley and has also got rid of Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior at least once apiece in the opening innings of at least one of the two Tests thus far.

Meanwhile, with Kevin Pietersen left out, England have lost arguably their only batsman prepared to really attack the South African bowling and put them on the back foot.

Without him, South Africa can tie England down and Morkel’s bouncer may prove even more deadly against a batting line up focused on survival.

With such inexperience in the middle order, England openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook will also be under more pressure than ever to protect their wickets.

Vernon Philander is Morkel’s partner with the new ball and also appeals at 3/1 to be South Africa’s top wicket-taker in the first innings at Lord’s.

Philander achieved this feat in all three Tests of South Africa’s previous series with New Zealand and has been consistently among the wickets against England without a single large-haul.

Lord’s may represent the chance for this to change.

Dale Steyn is the 2/1 favourite to take the most English wickets in the first innings, but although he is their leading wicket taker on the whole in the series, this price is skinny here.

Steyn has been more effective in the second English innings, when pitches begin to show more signs of wear and tear.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.