South Africa kept the series alive with a win in the fourth ODI but Ed Hawkins can't back the hosts at the odds in the fifth game in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday...
"Look, we are a little nervous about India's batting attack if the ball bends here and South Africa could be gung-ho following Jo'burg but those odds are just plain wrong"
South Africa v India
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa are, improbably, still alive in the six-match series thanks to a thrilling, last-gasp win at The Wanderers on Saturday.
The hosts were staring 4-0 in the face under lights in a chase but a late show of brilliant hitting from two emerging players was just the tonic for a team razed by injury.
Heinrich Klaasen and Andile Phehlukwayo had a job on their hands with South Africa 174 for five in the 24th chasing 202 in 28 after rain had forced officials to get the calculators out. But Klaasen, only in the team because of an injury to Quinton De Kock, played with the same spirit to smash 43 from 27 balls and pick up the match gong.
Phehlukwayo meanwhile swung his bat with all the belief that perhaps only a man nicknamed 'Lucky' can. The 11 balls he faced brought 23 runs, including three sixes, so in the end South Africa won with plenty of room to spare.
The result should give the team a major fillip, particularly after AB De Villiers returned following an injury.
It is hard to criticised India for failing to defend the revised target. Their spinners, who have been so dominant, just couldn't get a grip on the ball and so were meat and drink to South Africa's new boys.
I suppose you could argue they shouldn't have been bowling but skipper Virat Kohli had no other options apart from part-time turners. It raises an interesting question about India's balance on wickets which are cruel to spinners.
Yuz Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, metronomic hitherto, were caned conceding 8.5 and 12.3 respectively. All-rounder Hardik Pandya also struggled.
It was a shame for Shikhar Dhawan, who had earlier notched a century in his 100th ODI. Dhawan hit 109 from 105 balls.
St George's Park has a reputation for assisting the bowlers. Is that fair? The last 13 first-innings scores (most recent first with 1/2 denoting game won by side batting first or second) would suggest yes. They read: 181-2/167-2/262-2/262-2/262-1/303-1/265-1/119-2/317-1/252-2/209-2/243-1/254-1. That is an average of 237..
It is probably true that South Africa need a heavy toss bias, a dodgy wicket or a rain-reduced target in a chase to help bridge the gap against India. Port Elizabeth gives them hope therefore.
South Africa have razed the batting line-ups of Australia and Sri Lanka on their last two visits with Chris Morris, Kykle Abbott and Wayne Parnell among the wickets. Unfortunately, the spinners have chipped in as well.
Still, that did not justify the ludicrous [2.04] which was on offer early doors with India [1.96]. The market has settled since with India [1.82]. That doesn't seem short enough given the context of the series.
Look, we are a little nervous about India's batting attack if the ball bends here and South Africa could be gung-ho following Jo'burg but those odds are just plain wrong. India were [1.76] for game four.
The weather forecast is poor with rain expected but we doubt the market is reacting to that so early. There is no toss bias under lights.
If you had to bet the house on anyone being the hero in Jo'burg it would have been De Villiers. But it wasn't to be. He couldn't even manage a top score when looking well set with Hashim Amla back in the can. He will be well supported here, though, thanks to a decent record at PE - 464 runs in 14 innings. It's not a patch on David Miller's though. Miller has 191 in three innings, with one ton and a fifty. Given he's a confidence player that could make him the bet.
India failed to chase 191 in 33 overs in a rain-affected match at this venue in 2011. There were failures from Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni. But an inspired 87 from 92 from, you've guessed it, Virat Kohli, made things interesting. Kohli doesn't need ground form to make himself feel good but it helps for the rest of us if we've backed him.
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