Tue, Mar 20, 3:21pm by Staff Writer
The third Test between Australia and South Africa from Newlands begins on Thursday, with much of the pre-game discussion revolving around Proteas paceman Kagisa Rabada.
Rabada was suspended for two matches after the second test for “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact” with Australian captain Steve Smith.
He is appealing the ban, with a decision likely in the next 24 hours.
Retiring bowler Morne Morkel is expected to replace Rabada, with Duanne Olivier and all-rounder Chris Morris called into their squad.
South Africa won the second Test by six wickets as underdogs and will enter the Third test also as underdogs.
The Proteas are priced at $2.40 at Sportsbet to win the third Test, with Australia at $2.20. The draw is paying $5.25.
Expect an odds change in the head-to-head market after the verdict of Rabada’s appeal. The Proteas will likely shorten if the appeal is successful.
Weather is expected to be fine for the duration of the Test, making a draw unlikely.
Australia are not expected to make any changes to their squad which lost the second Test, but will be hoping for a better performance from its batsmen, who failed to crack 250 runs in either innings in Port Elizabeth.
In the top first innings runscorer markets, A.B. de Villiers ($3.50) and Steve Smith ($3.40) lead the way for their respective teams.
Faf du Plessis ($7) is a value option for the South Africans, with Shaun Marsh ($7) the pick of the Australian batsmen.
Steve Smith ($6) and Mitchell Marsh ($6.50) lead the man of the match market, with A.B. de Villiers ($7) the best backed of the South African players.
Vernon Philander ($2.88) and Mitchell Starc ($2.88) lead the way in the first innings wicket taker markets, and it is hard to imagine Starc being overtaken by any of the other bowlers in the Australian line-up.
Despite being underdogs, South Africa are $1.83 to have a first innings lead, with Australia priced at $1.94.
In this best-of-four match Test series, the result of this match will be crucial in deciding the series winner.
With Australia 118 run winners in Durban and South Africa reversing the script to run out six wicket winners in Port Elizabeth, the third Test will be as unpredictable as the first two before it.
Mitchell Starc has been on a tear this entire series and we expect him to dominate the wicket taking market.
He is also a good price at $6.50 to claim man of the match honours.
Best bet- Mitchell Starc to take the most first innings wickets for Australia at $2.88
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