Ed Hawkins advises a quickfire wager on the tourists to pick up a rare away win on a tough Jo'burg wicket
"India are worth a decent two-pointer considering the state of the wicket, not to mention how notoriously tough it is to bat last in Test cricket anyway"
Betting India to win away from home in Test cricket is the sort of strategy that only Monty Brewster would have been interested in. It costs money. A helluva lot of money.
For those who don't recall, Monty, played by the rascally Richard Pryor, was the main charter in the film Brewster's Millions. Monty is challenged to take $1 million up front or spend $30 million in 30 days. He chooses the latter. And he is only allowed to gamble 5%.
Shoving the 5% chunk on India's opponents in Tests would have been a good start. Outside of Asia and a very hospitable Caribbean, India have won once in the last five years.
But Brewster would not be advised to risk his 5% on South Africa in the third and final Test at The Wanderers. India are in charge. At lunch on day three, they lead by 93 runs in the third innings with six wickets remaining.
It's not much, you might think. But it is more precious than Brewster's challenge. The Wanderers pitch, to pick a few words used to describe it in this match is "treacherous", "uneven" and "tough". Getting 150 batting last on it will be difficult indeed for the hosts, particularly as India's bowling has been potent throughout a series they find themselves 2-0 adrift in.
We are surprised to see India as big as [2.60] and it's worth a decent two-pointer considering the state of the wicket, not to mention how notoriously tough it is to bat last in Test cricket anyway.
The surface is causing consternation. Murali Vijay, who batted courageously for 25 from 127 balls, took many blows on the body. Virat Kohli was struck on the hand with one that reared from a lengh. And at the break the umpires and groundtaff were deep in conversation, browd furrowed.
Indeed, we might be a little concerned that, if deterioration gathers pace, there could be rumblings of calling the whole thing off because of it being too dangerous.
Still, for now Kohli holds the key. If he can get India to a lead of 200, perhaps with Hardik Pandya coming in and just blasting away until ge gets one with his name on, as he did in Cape Town, India will be skinny favourites.
By the way, Brewster spends it all in the nick of time. With plenty of ups and downs. This Test could have a similar storyline.
India to win Test [2.60] (2pts)