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South Africa v Australia betting tips & preview 3rd Test at Cape Town - Series-decider at a result-oriented venue

Suneer Chowdhary 28 Feb 2014
Dale Steyn ran through the Aussies in the second Test. (credit: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

The third and the final Test of Australia's tour of South Africa begins from March 1 at Newlands in Cape Town.

Bet on the South Africa v Australia 3rd Test live at bet365

It's been an interesting series where the Aussies started off with a pummelling of South Africa in the first Test before the hosts and the world number one team retaliated with a similar bashing of the visitors in the second. 

The scoreline of 1-1 suggests an even contest but the margins of defeat point out to anything but that, with the teams having won the two matches by 281 and 231 runs respectively. It was a major turnaround in the second game in Port Elizabeth, however, for South Africa and one that was brought about by a combination of various factors.

David Warner accused South Africa of tampering with the ball.

First, AB de Villiers continued his good form and hit a century, before he was helped by a return to runs from JP Duminy and their 149-run stand for the sixth wicket. What they did quite well was to blunt Mitchell Johnson out, something the South Africans had failed to do in the first Test.

They were helped in no small way by the pitch, which was slow in nature and made it difficult for the Aussie bowlers before Dale Steyn's reverse swing ripped through the opposition in the second innings of the game. He ended with figures of 4/55 in Australia's chase but more than the wickets, it was his hostility that sent the Aussies reeling. 

What will be a continuing Australian worry is that their top-order batting has struggled when under pressure. In the first Test, they were 98 for four, and in this one they slumped to 128 for six in the first dig. In the second innings, once Australia's first wicket stand was dislodged they lost their last nine wickets for 64 runs. 

There could be changes to both sides for this one. Australia will look to bring in Shane Watson for sure but it remains to be seen who will he replace. Both Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh have played one innings of substance and have had two single-digit scores to go with that. 

Shaun Marsh had a wretched second Test where he scored a pair.

While Marsh got a pair in the last game, what will worry the Aussies is Doolan's batting style, which borders on the way Joe Root batted for England. There are tendencies to get bogged down and allow the opposition to run away with the advantage.

What also needs to be seen is if Michael Clarke will bat up the order from the number five slot he had taken up in the previous two Tests and if so, who will he replace. My own thinking on this is that Doolan will go out, Marsh will skip up to three, Clarke at four, Steven Smith at five and Watson will be brought in at the number six position.

The other question-mark is around the fitness of Ryan Harris, who has had an average of 73 in this series so far because of his knee injury. He has said he's looking to feature in this game but will the selectors show enough faith or will they bring in a fresher James Pattinson?

Will Ryan Harris be fit enough to play in this one?

South Africa had made three changes to their line-up for the second Test, two of them being forced ones. Now that both Ryan McLaren and Alviro Petersen are fit again, it remains to be seen whether they will be brought back, especially given that Wayne Parnell injured himself in the previous game. 

Peterson's replacement Dean Elgar did well in the previous game to merit a place which means he could come in for Quinton de Kock. 

South Africa v Australia 3rd Test betting tips:
It's been 11 Tests and almost eight years since South Africa lost at Newlands in Cape Town. Their last defeat came at the hands of Australia as well, but since then South Africa have won eight and drawn three games played here. Two of those eight wins, however, came against Australia - in 2009 and 2011.

Rather interestingly, the team batting first has usually struggled on this pitch in recent times. Of the eight wins for South Africa, seven have come batting second while the average score in the first innings (out of four) in these 11 Tests is 319 while that in the second innings (out of four) is 335. 

Will AB de Villiers make it to another century?

On the other hand, given how Australia went on that slow pitch in Port Elizabeth, there is every chance that the curator will provide the hosts with a pitch not too dissimilar from the previous game. Batting first could remain the key again but more vitally, batting well first up could turn the game in one of the team's way.

Morne Morkel could prove to be a handful on such a pitch given the awkward bounce he gets while Amla will hope to continue from where he left off in the second innings of the previous game. 

For Australia the lack of runs from the captain Michael Clarke will be a worry but I expect him to come back stronger in this one. 

Top South African batsman: Amla (7/2 at Ladbrokes)
Top Australian batsman: Clarke (7/2 at Ladbrokes)
Top South African bowler: Morkel (7/2 at Sportingbet)
Top Australian bowler: Nathan Lyon (11/2 at Sportingbet)

Other bets:
As can be seen from the averages above, expect a century to be scored (4/5 at bet365) in the first innings.

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South Africa v Australia betting tips & preview 3rd Test at Cape Town - Series-decider at a result-oriented venue

The third and the final Test of Australia's tour of South Africa begins from March 1 at Newlands in Cape Town.

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