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England vs South Africa’s History Sets Up Thrilling Final Test

South Africa and England have a storied history in Test cricket and has always been worth some cricket betting. The rivalry dates back to 1889 when the duo first played against one another in Port Elizabeth. On that occasion South Africa’s introduction to the game ended in an eight-wicket defeat.

It took almost 17 years and seven matches before our cricketers got one over The Empire, thanks to the performances of the great Aubrey Faulkner, Dave Nourse and Gordon White. That victory inspired South Africa’s first series triumph against the Three Lions in 1906.

It was a further 29 years and four trips to England before Herby Wade’s team won a match and a series on the isle.

82 years have passed since that tour and in that time history witnessed:

Durban’s famous Timeless Test of 1939; sporting isolation; Devon Malcolm’s demolition job in ’94; Paul Adam’s ‘frog in a blender’ in ’95; Gary Kirsten’s then national record in Durban and the contrived test in Centurion in 1999-2000; The birth of the Proteas most successful test captain – Graeme Smith in 2003; Makhaya Ntini’s 10 wicket match haul at Lord’s and Hashim Amla scoring the first and so far only triple century by a South African in the midst of two away series.

All these moments and so many more have sparked the fire of imaginations, young and old, leading up to this 2017 tour of England by South Africa.

The latest chapter in this fascinating sporting rivalry has always been worth a wager or two. Prior to the series, if I engaged in a spot of cricket betting, I would have put my money on South Africa to take the honours even though they were playing in England. The Proteas had a settled line-up in the main while their bowling attack was ideally suited to the conditions with a captain who knows exactly how to get what he needs from his troops to achieve a positive result. England on the other hand did not know who would be in their top order, who was their lead spinner and they had a new captain in Joe Root.

Then Lord’s happened. Powered by their new captain’s 190 and South African errors, the home team produced a comprehensive victory.

The second test brought the return of South Africa’s leader, Faf du Plessis, and with him, direction, strategy and a determination that was missing in the opener, to completely turn around fortunes and level the series.

The third test could not have gone any better for England. South Africa lost the toss and their most dangerous bowler for the first two days, playing right into English hands. With 353 on the board the English bowlers then took advantage of the grey skies and damp air in a way the visiting attack could not, which helped set up the visitors’ improbable target to chase or survive. With a Moeen Ali hat-trick to top it all off, they did neither.

2-1 ahead, England are odds on favourites to claim the overall series honours. The topsy-turvy nature of the series though shows me that if I were a cricket betting man, I would fancy putting my money on South Africa to bounce back, just as they did in Nottingham, to draw the series.

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