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Odds-on England denied by determined South Africa

Betfacts RSS / / 14 July 2008 /

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Proteas head second Test market after dominating final two days at Lord's to land draw

England were matched at a low of [1.37] on Betfair to win the first Test against South Africa when Panesar and co had the Proteas wobbling at the end of the third day.

But a superb rearguard action from the South African top order ensured the match finished in a draw - which was matched at a best price of [3.9] on the exchange.

South Africa were the early favourites to win the game and were backed at a low of [2.2] but a solid England start followed by an explosive innings of 152 from Kevin Pietersen saw their price tighten.

The home side appeared to consolidate their position on day two with Ian Bell hitting a career best 199 before the declaration came at 593 for 8. And with England's bowlers in rampant mood South Africa were forced to follow on late on Saturday after a first innings total of 247 all out.

With the tourists staring into the abyss, England were matched as low as [1.37] on Betfair and the scene was set for the attack to fire them to a 1-0 series lead.

But a determined century from captain Graeme Smith and 138 from Neil McKenzie built the platform on which South Africa batted out what had seemed an unlikely draw, declaring on 393 for 3 after the teams had come off for bad light shortly after 16:00 on the fifth day.

South Africa remain favourites to win the four test series at [2.06] with England at [3.9] and as the sides head north for the second test, which begins at Headingley on Friday, they will feel they have the momentum.

Their bowlers will also have benefited from three days extra rest which may explain the current price of [2.86] for a Sotuh Africa win.

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