The three match test series between South Africa and Australia comes to a close in Cape Town at the Newlands cricket ground, which is one of the most beautiful locations to play cricket in the world. It is overlooked by Table Mountain and Devils Peak and is the perfect setting to end a test series.
Despite these two sides having faced off on many occasions over the last 20 years this three match series is just the second time that the two teams have needed a decider to separate them. The other series was, in fact, the last series in Australia in 2012-13 and although Australia felt they had done enough in the first two tests they had lost one of those and it was the Proteas who ran riot in the decider to claim the series.
GR88.com do not believe that the hosts in this Third South Africa v Australia Test will run riot this time, but they do favour a home win in Cape Town this week as follows.
South Africa v Australia – Final Test Odds:
South Africa – 2.02
Draw – 3.40
Australia – 2.74
(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)
The first test saw an overwhelming victory for Australia as they chose to bat first against their hosts and after sitting on 24-2 and 98-4 they posted an impressive 397 all out in the first innings. This was possible thanks to a century from Steve Smith and a series high score of 148 from Shaun Marsh but as these two fell within five overs of each other saw a collapse from 331-5 to 397. The hosts fell short as they replied with their first innings and only AB de Villiers’ 91 saved them from utter embarrassment as they recorded 206 all out.
The second innings saw Australia declare on 290-4, with David Warner hammering 115 from 151 balls, and then they removed the hosts for 200, with de Villiers again top scoring with 48, to claim a 281 run victory.
However, the second test in Port Elizabeth saw a complete turnaround as South Africa batted first and scored a massive 423 all out in their first innings. It was that man again, AB de Villiers, who helped them on their way with 116 before being caught and bowled by Nathan Lyon but he was not the top scorer this time around as JP Duminy knocked for 123. Australia replied well with 246 as Warner hit 70 and Smith fell one run short of his half century, but they were in trouble and needed a big second innings from their bowlers.
For the most part they got it too as they claimed five wickets before South Africa declared and all five players out scored less than 35. However, Hashim Amla was on form and hit 127 not out to see South Africa to 270. The run chase for the visitors started well as Chris Rodgers and Warner put on a pairing of 126 before Warner walked at 70 for an lbw and although Rodgers hung in to score 107 no other Australian players scored above six as they were beaten by 231 runs.
South Africa have the momentum for this third, and final, test match and certainly deserve to be the favourites. However, this can easily change if Australia bat first and the side doing the run chase at the end of this match is expected to have a tough time as the pitch cuts up. Whoever gets in first deserves to be the favourite to win this match, but with this not being withstanding it is Hashim Amla who is likely to make the difference in this final test as he has five test centuries against Australia since the end of 2011 and his 127 not out last time around shows he’s back in form. This should give the hosts the edge and they’re my pick in Cape Town in this final test.
Back South Africa to win the final test, and the series, against Australia @ 2.02 with GR88.com.