South Africa odds-on to leapfrog England to top Test cricket rankings

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South Africa’s demolition job in the first Test against England has seen them shorten substantially to 1/2 to win the series and replace the hosts at head of the Test rankings.

England certainly have lots to mull over ahead of the second Test at Headingley, which begins on August 2nd, most notably how they are going to bowl out the opposition.

Although the bowlers were not aided by a flat pitch at the Oval, it is a worry that England were bowled out twice and only able to take two wickets themselves.

It is true that England did not help themselves with the bat by throwing away wickets, particularly in the second innings, but they were second best with the ball, lacking in speed, swing and spin.

If the pitch is similarly flat at Headingly, England may be forced to make bowling changes, with the extra pace of Steven Finn a possible weapon, while his added height could do a better job of keeping the South Africans pegged on the back foot.

However, if conditions are deemed to be more conducive to swing at Headingley, this should suit England and especially James Anderson with the new ball.

Given the results of the first Test, it does seem slightly strange that it is England that are favourites to level the series at 1-1 at 13/8 in the second Test, with South Africa a tempting 15/8 to gain an unassailable 2-0 lead.

South Africa only need to win the series by any score to move top of the Test rankings and there is likely to be a growing numbers of punters believing that a whitewash is on the cards, especially as the rain now seems to have cleared for the summer.

It is 6/1 that South Africa win the series 3-0 and this is arguably a better price than the 5-1 that England find a way of turning things around to secure a 2-1 success.

Alternatively, 3/1 is the price in the cricket odds that the final two Tests are split so that South Africa triumph 2-1.

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.