Fifth ODI Betting, South Africa v England
"England are certainly better value than South Africa at [1.65]. Why? Because this is another game which hinges on the toss. With the contest under lights, it is likely to be all over as soon as the captains call, just as when the teams met in Cape Town."
England fans will be pleased with Andrew Strauss' side 2-1 up in the Series with just one match to go. What with Dale Steyn out and problems in the middle order the hosts look slightly vulnerable but once again the toss will be crucial, says Ed Hawkins.
South Africa could be forgiven for feeling a little bewildered as they prepare for the must-win fifth one-day international against England at Durban on Friday (12.30GMT). With a record of only two defeats in two-team series at home ever, no wonder panic is beginning to grip.
Dale Steyn is the latest casualty for the hosts, who have been struggling with injuries. Steyn has a hamstring strain and it is unlikely that he will be risked with one eye on the Test series, which starts on December 16.
Jacques Kallis is, of course, missing as well and without him South Africa have looked more unbalanced than a spotty intern after too many sherberts at the Christmas bash. Mark Boucher and Ryan McLaren have both looked a spot too high in the batting order. The answer is drastic but necessary. Drop Boucher, hand the gloves to AB de Villiers and pick Herschelle Gibbs .
England are usually the side scrambling to cover for injured men so will be more than happy to pick the same side which won so convincingly in Port Elizabeth.
Slowly but surely punters are beginning to have faith in this England side, who surprisingly have a 2-1 lead going into the final game. Andrew Strauss' side were as big as [3.25] to win the first game but are now as short as [2.52].
They are certainly better value than South Africa at [1.65]. Why? Because this is another game which hinges on the toss. With the contest under lights, it is likely to be all over as soon as the captains call, just as when the teams met in Cape Town.
The ball bends under lights at Kingsmead. Seven of the last 10 day-night games have been won by the side batting first. So the advice is simple: back the team which gets the chance to post a total. If that happens to be South Africa at skinny odds - they should
shorten again - then so be it. Or you could run the risk of hoping that they drift a little if England strike quickly.
Kingsmead is a ground which offers a fair contest between bat and ball - so long as no-one switches the floodlights on. There is always zip in the air because of the coastal breeze in Durban but this is accentuated under lights.
Poor old India, never the best against swing historically, got knocked over for just 91 in the second innings three years ago. The first-innings score average is healthy. In the last 10 completed day-nighters the mean is 255. Watch out for some rain as well, which
will only give the side batting second more problems.
For the day-night game in Cape Town there was much excitement over how the top order dominated the top-bat lists in a first-innings under lights while in the second, the majority of runs came from outside of the top four.
The same cannot be said for recent matches at Durban. Rather surprisingly, openers fare well in the second innings; five top-scoring in the last 10. The No 3 position is the most profitable in the first dig, with four top bats.
AB de Villiers, who is [4.70], has ground form given that he has top scored three times in recent years. For England, Kevin Pietersen is a fancy at the same price simply because he will be desperate for success on his old home ground.
The [2.78] that KP raises his bat for a 50 looks a potential wager. England's main man is beginning to look dangerous again following Achilles surgery.
Best bet: Ed Hawkins says back side batting first in 5th ODI