Steve Smith the value bet as Australia’s top run-scorer in Australia v South Africa 1st Test
October 31, 2016
Recommended bet: Steve Smith – Top Australian Runscorer (1st innings) @ 7/2 (4.50) with Unibet
Having suffered a humiliating 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series in South Africa a month ago, Australia get a swift opportunity to exact revenge with a three-match Test series back on home soil.
Prior to that, the Aussies last Test series saw them suffer a shambolic 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka. The Baggy Greens are certainly coming into this series with something to prove, but they will certainly be happier playing Test cricket in home conditions than they were on the sub-continent.
The series begins at the WACA, where South Africa have won on both of their last two Test Match visits against Australia (indeed, South Africa won both series – 2-1 in 2008 and 1-0 in 2012-13). In 2008 they won by six wickets, then in 2012 they were victorious by a hefty 309 runs.
The one surprise pick in the Aussie 12-man squad is fast-bowler Joe Mennie, who got the nod ahead of Jackson Bird. It would appear the biggest factor in Mennie’s selection over Bird was the former’s greater ability with the bat.
The other main selection of note was that Shaun Marsh retains his place in the squad ahead of Joe Burns and will probably open the batting alongside David Warner.
The Proteas will be missing the mighty AB de Villiers, but they have all their key bowlers available in Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. The fitness of Steyn and Philander in particular will be a concern over the course of the series though.
Neither of these teams is in great shape going into the 1st Test, so it’s probably best to avoid predicting the result and to look at other markets instead.
The Australian batting line-up does provide cause for concern and with Warner having to face an opening barrage from the South African pace bowlers, he would be a risky selection as top run-scorer.
Captain Steve Smith could prove to be the better option. Smith is top of the ICC’s Test batting rankings with an average of 58.55 and is in decent form after scoring 117 for NSW against Queensland in the Sheffield Shield last week. At 7/2 (4.50), he could provide a bit of value.