England were 88/1 overnight, with Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott at the crease; not a bad start following South Africa’s 418. At the start of play on day three, Sporting Index’s quote for England first innings runs is 428-443 and the Three Lions’ record is strong here – winning once and drawing twice in three visits. However, it’s also worth noting that their highest ever score at this venue was 381, back in 1995, and that the Proteas have won 11 of their last 13 games here.
England’s batting line-up is decent, but plenty of stats suggest they won’t eclipse South Africa’s first innings total. In the past 10 Centurion Tests, the home side’s average first innings total has been 391, whilst visitors average just 270. The Proteas have faced the likes of England, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in that sample, so are clearly a force to be reckoned with here. The pitch seems to deteriorate after the first innings and, with early wickets going on both the first two days, the runs spread could be much shorter after a few overs.
For those looking at Sporting Index’s win index market, the logical spread bet at this stage is to buy South Africa at 12.5. The draw is a runner, but so is a home win, and I’d risk a 2.5 point loss for a possible 12.5 point win.