South Africa v Sri Lanka Fourth ODI Betting: Ngidi the man to follow

Faf Du Plessis
Faf is a decent price for top bat
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Ed Hawkins is still waiting for Sri Lanka to show some skills but finds a top-bowler bet for Port Elizabeth on Wednesday...

"There is also the added benefit of ground form at PE. Ngidi hurried up India in 2018 with four wickets and he should find the surface to his liking again"

South Africa v Sri Lanka
Wednesday 13 March, 11:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

South Africa at full strength

Far from winding down with a 3-0 lead safely pouched, South Africa are set to unleash their strongest line-up against Sri Lanka. Out go Wiann Mulder and Reeza Hendricks, in come Aiden Markram, JP Duminy and Hashim Amla.

Concerns over South Africa's batting, then, can be dismissed. With Amla set to open with De Kock, Faf Du Plessis at No 3 and Rassie van der Dussen, who has really taken his chance, at No 4 they look strong. But arguably the return of Duminy is the greatest fillip.

Duminy, who has struggled with injury, provides batting depth and some extra overs if required. Suddenly South Africa don't look so unbalanced. Duminy could come in for Tabraiz Shamsi, bat at No6 and therefore solve the problem of having Kagiso Rabada at No 8.

Dale Steyn is not expected to play here and we would be surprised if Rabada wasn't rested. Anrich Nortje looks set to come back in.

Kusal out of the series

Sri Lanka are hurting. They have had two good opportunities to get on board in this series, the latest they discarded at Durban. After winning the toss they correctly fielded first (South Africa have been dodgy batting first) but couldn't get any joy from a surface which is often helpful.

Instead South Africa, thanks to Quinton De Kock's 121, piled on 331. Sri Lanka were then given a second bite when rain arrived, revising their target down to 193 in 24 overs. But they were never in the hunt, going down limply by 71 runs.

Perhaps worst of all was the loss of Kusal Perera, their best batter, to a hamstring injury. He won't play again in the series. Kusal had not hit the heights after his epic innings in the Test series, returning scores of 33 and eight, but there is no replacement being shipped out.

Why bother? They are depleted already without the likes of Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews unavailable. In the squad are Priyamal Perera, Angelo Perera and Kamindu Mendis who can expect to challenge for his spot. All of them are all-rounders although Priyamal has a bias for the bat.

The smart move would be to bring back Upul Tharanga, providing he is fit. They desperately need some experience.

Stodgy surface in store?

In 17 day-night matches at Port Elizabeth, nine have been won by the side batting first. In January South Africa could post only 266 despite losing just two wickets against Pakistan. They were beaten by five wickets. Last year India made 274 and bowled out the hosts for 201. Batting could be tricky, though, with only three scores of 270 or more recorded since 2000 (13 matches).

Getting dicey with Lankans

South Africa are [1.29] with Sri Lanka [4.1]. We had a gamble on them last time with the toss in their favour and it did not pay off. So this one tests our mettle.

We'd like to give them another shot, particularly if a sticky wicket reduces the gulf. Sri Lanka may have been waiting for this surface considering how Pakistan's spinners kept South Africa in check two months ago. Still, it's arguable that South Africa should be shorter because of the players coming back into the squad.

The best advice, if you have to play this market, is to look for a cheeky trade on Sri Lanka, hoping they can get a foothold in the game bowling first and then taking a view if they scrape into favourite status.

South Africa at full strength

Amla made an unbeaten 108 in that match against Pakistan so he should be raring to go. He gets a 3/1 quote from Betfair Sportsbook about top Saffer bat. De Kock is beginning to motor, though, and he has been returned to jolly status - rightfully - after starting out the series in second spot. He is 5/2. Du Plessis is 16/5. On two-year form that's value.

Kusal Mendis topped for Sri Lanka in game four and the 5s from Sportsbook looks generous. Again, an honourable mention for Thisara Perera at 15/2.

Ngidi a bet again

After skipping Lungi Ngidi for top bowler in Durban - and having wagered him twice previously in the series with one loss and another tie - we're back to bet him at 10/3 with Sportsbook. We have him much shorter than that considering the number of times he wins. There is also the added benefit of ground form at PE. He hurried up India in 2018 with four wickets and he should find the surface to his liking again.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2019: -1.98pts
2018: +23.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
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

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