Ed Hawkins previews game three from Newlands and says the toss prevents another foregone conclusion on Wednesday...
"Cape Town under lights is a notoriously difficult venue to chase at. Only six teams in 29 attempts have ever won batting second"
South Africa v India
Wednesday 7 February, 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa are beginning to look more careless than unfortunate. Having lost Faf Du Plessis, their captain, and AB De Villiers, their superstar, to finger injuries, the admission of Quinton de Kock to the sick bus is bad timing indeed.
De Kock has a wrist injury and is out for the series and the T20s that follow. He suffered a blow when batting in the defeat in the second ODI on Sunday.
It robs South Africa of their three most potent batters - according to the ICC at least. AB is rated No 2, De Kock No 6 and Du Plessis No 9. At least De Villiers could return for game four.
This leaves a huge burden on Hashim Amla to get the bulk of the runs and new captain Aiden Markram, who has only played three ODIs. At 23 he is South Africa's second youngest captain.
Farhaan Behardien, a reliable finisher if he has something to finish, should play allowing Markram to open with Amla. JP Dunimy, Khata Zondo, David Miller and Chris Morris complete the middle order.
Yuz Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were once again the architects of South Africa's downfall at Centurion. Between them the pair took five wickets as the hosts were bundled out for just 118.
They can't believe their luck. Decent wickets with grip and turn but, more importantly, a home line-up which has no clue about countering wrist spin.
It's not all about tweak, though. Look at the returns from Bhuv Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, the new-ball bowlers. They kept Amla and De Kock becalmed when they should have been trying to get their team ahead before the spinners arrived.
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, as you would expect, guided India home with the loss of only one wicket. So an opportunity to test India's middle-order remains to be seen in this series.
There have been 12 ODI at Cape Town since 2006. The first-innings scores (most recent first with 1/2 denoting game won by side batting first or second) read: 367-1/327-1/236-2/218-1/220-2/354-1/289-1/255-1/238-2/107-2/274-1/289-1. That is an average of 245.
The old adage in Cape Town is true: win the toss, win the game. Cape Town under lights is a notoriously difficult venue to chase at. Only six teams in 29 attempts have ever won batting second. One of them was India in 2011 chasing 221.
It is, then, frustrating, that we have to seriously consider this South African bunch at [2.68]. Mind you, if the toss went their way they would surely be clipped. India are [1.59].
Clearly, India are a class apart now injuries have taken their toll but toss biases like this one can reduce a gulf. Does anyone doubt the ability of the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel to cause problems under lights?
The best advice, then, is to look for a trade on South Africa with the caveat of them batting first. They should come favourite with nip and movement giving them some early wickets in a chase. You're gambling on them getting enough runs to make them count, though.
Top SA bat
We cannot discount the possibility of South Africa being razed again here. Particularly if they bat second. So Behardien at [11.0] and Morris at [14.5] make appeal at over-inflated odds. Behardien has been a tad unfortunate not to have been in from the start. His form domestically has been good and his reputation as a hitter in T20 can breathe new life into his ODI career.
Top India bat
This one might be for in-play with India batting second. We would to be looking to the middle- and lower-order for value here. MS Dhoni fits the bill. He has seen it all before so should fancy a rebuilding job if required. He is [9.0]. Hardik Pandya is [7.4] but we expect more like Dhoni's price.
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 batting 1st [2.58] to [1.70]