After losing by an innings and 12 runs at Lord’s, England will attempt to level the three-match Test series when they take on South Africa at Old Trafford tomorrow. The Proteas, meanwhile, will attempt to carry their form from the first Test into the second match as they bid to wrap up the series.
Let’s have a look at the 5 bets to take for the second Test in Manchester.
The toss could be key in this match with five of the last eight matches won by the side batting first. England come into this Test having only lost twice in their last 16 Test matches at this venue while Proteas have failed to beat them at Old Trafford in their last two meetings.
Ben Stokes will need his top players like himself, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, James Anderson and a few others to put in better performances if they are to level the series. They should benefit from playing on a historically flatter pitch that could suit their style of batting.
Brendon McCullum will be expecting a reaction from his troops and I see them bouncing back and taking the series to the final Test.
The South African paceman was the difference between the two bowling attacks (along with Rabada) in the first Test with his pace. He’s been a find for South African cricket in all formats and it’s good to see him at his very best after struggling in the recent T20I and ODI series.
His pace could prove to be the difference again on a pitch that usually offers pace and bounce. Back Nortje to be the Proteas’ first innings top bowler.
Old Trafford is a ground that’s known for providing assistance for the spinners and Keshav can take full advantage of that. He’s been in fantastic form in this format taking 16 wickets in his last four Test innings at just 10.25 runs per wicket.
If you’re looking for more value, back Maharaj to be South Africa’s top 1st innings bowler over Nortje with both of them being great options for this Test.
Fall of 1st Wicket
The toss will be key for this bet to land. I expect both teams to win the toss and bat first on a ground with a first innings average of 328. If England do bat first, that will mean the fall of the 1st wicket being under 25.5 will be a smart bet with both Zach Crawley and Alex Lees struggling for runs.
Stuart Broad was England’s top 1st innings bowler in the first match along with Ben Stokes. They both ended with figures of 3/71. The Englishman has also taken the second most wickets at Old Trafford with 40 wickets in 9 matches at 19.65 with best figures of 6/25.
His height has been the main reason for his success on a pitch that’s known to offer a lot of bounce. Bet on him to be the home side’s top first innings bowler.