Andrew Strauss could not have any more riding on his 100th international Test match for England, with victory required to retain their spot at the head of the world rankings.
England are 11/5 to win the third Test at Lord’s and nothing other than victory will be enough as they look to overturn their 1-0 series deficit from their earlier defeat at the Oval.
Strauss has hardly been leading by example in the opening two Tests, failing to help provide the foundations at the top of the innings with a mere batting average of 21.5.
His 86 runs have come at a lower average than spin bowler Graeme Swann, while Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior have all contributed more than double this amount.
Strauss should not doubt his form too much after two centuries in the previous series with the West Indies, but this is the time they really need a hefty contribution.
Meanwhile, as hard as Strauss will want to make an impact, the remainder of the team should also have a second reason to grind harder for victory.
Strauss’ captaincy skills have been a pivotal factor in England earning their top ranking and so the rest of the team have an added incentive to put in a performance.
Furthermore, he has helped England remain unbeaten in seven successive home series’ and this is a record that they will additionally want to extend.
South Africa have not looked in danger of losing either of the Tests so far and given their dominance in almost every department, it is slightly strange that like England they are 11/5 to win the Test.
Like in the second Test, it is the draw that is the favoured result at 5/4, although the threat of rain seems far more unlikely than was the case at Headingley last time.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.