Ed Hawkins previews game two from Centurion on Sunday and is surprised by the state of the match odds...
"If the last 13 under lights, eight have been won by the team batting first. That makes it extra tough to get with India blind, even if we think they're in the ascendancy"
South Africa v India
Sunday 4 February 08.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa are smarting somewhat after going 1-0 down in the series. How did they lose in Durban having posted a more-than-competitive total, a heavy toss bias in their favour and Indian batsmen proven to be vulnerable against a moving ball?
There is also bad news on the injury front. Faf Du Plessis, the captain, has fractured a finger and is out of the series. He joins AB De Villiers on the sidelines.
Farhaan Behardien and Henrich Klaasen have been added to the squad. It was a surprise that Behardien wasn't in from the first game considering his strong form in domestic cricket.
In the absence of Du Plessis, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy are vying for the leadership role. Du Plessis's runs may be missed most, though. His brilliant 120 from 112 balls had put South Africa in the driving seat at Kingsmead.
India are a classy one-day outfit and they emphatically proved that. Against all odds, they chased down South Africa's 268 without a care.
Virat Kohli's 112 from 119 balls and Ajinkya Rahane's 79 from 86 were a masterclass in how to manage a chase. Shikhar Dhawan had put a fire under the hosts with a rapid 35.
The impact their spinners had should not be underestimated. Yuz Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav took five wickets between them. And their economy rate was miserly, too. Their combined 20 overs costs just 79. In contrast South Africa's Imran Tahir, the world No 1, was ineffective - wicketless for 51.
The last 13 first-innings scores (most recent first with 1/2 denoting game won by side batting first or second) read: 384-1/294-2/318-2/304-1/361-1/179-2/191-2/250-1/250-2/331-/1/200-2/257-2/200-2. That gives us an average of 267.
At the start of the series we thought these two were well-matched. Has our opinion changed? Yes. The loss of Du Plessis, the heartbeat of the team, looks significant.
South Africa's batting has already been depleted with the absence of De Villiers. Instead the middle-order of Markram-Duminy-Miller has a bit of a flaky feel about it.
Still, it is surprising (irritaing) to see India favourites at [1.89] with South Africa [2.1]. It's highly unusual for a strong home team to pass up favourite status after just one match. But the odds are fair.
The toss could come to South Africa's aid. Of the last 13 under lights, eight have been won by the team batting first. That makes it extra tough to get with India blind, even if we think they're in the ascendancy.
We will wait for the flip, then, and hope it goes India's way and hope no more than 0.9 gets taken off the price. If it does their pace bowlers should get plenty out of the surface to take a 2-0 lead.
Top South Africa runscorer
Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock have excellent records at Centurion. Amla has 846 runs in 12 matches and De Kock 542 in six. Without Du Plessis and AB it is fair to say that the pair have littlte to beat and splitting stakes on the duo might be an option. Amla and De Kock are both [3.9]. De Kock hitn a century against India at the venue in 2013 in a no result.
Top India runscorer
Kohli and Rohit Sharma survive from the 2011 beating at Centurion. Neither made an impact that day, each scoring five. Kohli is [3.1] and Rohit [4.3]. Rahane looks the value, though, at [5.8] considering his strong showing last time.
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
India batting first [1.80]