Rain and a weakened England team in Kingsmead means another shock could be on the cards on Friday, says Ed Hawkins.
"The match odds market reckons England cannot possibly be as bad again, rating them at 1.594/7 for game two. South Africa are 2.568/5"
South Africa v England
Friday 7 February, 11:00
Live on Sky Sports
South Africa spot on
South Africa produced a fabulous display in game one to buck a significant toss bias, not to mention beating the world champions, at odds against. Can they do it again to seal the series with a game to play?
You wouldn't put it past them. They barely put a foot wrong in Cape Town. Despite deciding to jettison a host of experienced players and without the injured Kagiso Rabada, they looked as if they'd been playing together for years.
The headlines were three wickets for Tabraiz Shamsi, a ton for new captain Quinton de Kock and a brilliant 98 from Temba Bavuma. But JT Smuts' miserly bowling was unheralded, a bonus point for an attack which bowled with nerve and skill. Particularly notable was the clever use of slower balls at the death.
Possible XI De Kock, Hendricks, Bavuma, Van Der Dussen, Smuts, Miller, Phehlukwayo, Hendricks, Ngidi, Sipamla, Shamsi
England, in their first appearance after their World Cup win, could be forgiven for being rusty. And captain Eoin Morgan admitted as much, saying they were "way off" the level required to compete at international level.
It's also worth forgetting the champions tag. This lot are in name only. Of the XI that won the title, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett are all absent. All were big cogs.
It would be a surprise if England made wholesale changes but it has to be said their bowling looks worryingly weak. It lacks pace and variation. Saqib Mahmood, the Lancashire tyro, could well get a game.
As for picking Tom Banton and batting him in the specialist finisher role at No 6, the mind boggles. He has to open or bat at No 3 or not at all.
Possible XI Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan, Denly, Banton, S Curran, Woakes, Jordan, Parkinson, Mahmood
Forecast not great for Kingsmead
In 36 day-nighters at Durban, there is no toss bias to get excited about. The first innings scores in the last ten years (eight matches) under lights (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second, most recent first) read: 203-2/269-2/307-1/371-2/283-1/279-1/222-2/289-1.
Those numbers suggest we're in for a cracking contest between bat and ball. Well, if the notoriously bad Durban weather doesn't spoil things. The forecast is not great at this stage with showers and thunderstorms forecast. Unless the weathermen have it wrong we look certain to get a reduction in overs.
Listen to Ed Hawkins and CricViz's Freddie Wilde discuss game two in this week's episode of Cricket...Only Bettor
Hosts look good
The match odds market reckons England cannot possibly be as bad again, rating them at 1.594/7 for game two. South Africa are 2.568/5. There will be plenty of takers, particularly if rain and cloud reduce the supposed talent gulf.
With that in mind, we're not shy of a trade on the Saffers, reckoning they have enough to come as jollies here. And that's down to big performers up front like De Kock and Bavuma with the bat and Ngidi and Hendricks, who looked a real performer in CT.
Skill levels were high. De Kock and Bavuma did not require big shots, just busy attitudes and they milked England's bowlers. Ngidi was disappointing but that was his first game back after injury and should improve for the run.
Kingsmead often means Miller time. David that is. The middle-order hitter has a terrific record at the venue in the last five years, whacking two centuries in six matches at a strike rate of 119. Sportsbook go 6/1 for top SA bat. De Kock is no slouch, though. He has 242 in four at 106. As usual, he heads the list at 23/10. Bavuma is 4/1.
For England, Joe Denly was a surprise winner in Cape Town. He goes off at 17/2. Joe Root is a terrible favourite at 11/4 on hit rate. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are 3/1 and 7/2.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Trade South Africa 2.568/5 to 1.804/5