If you’ve been following South Africa and Australia’s ding-dong Test series battle, it is likely that you would expect blood to spilt when the teams meet again in Port Elizabeth on Friday. Hostile does not quite cover it. Bet on the match at BMR’s green-listed bookmakers.
David Warner, the Australian attack dog, has been foaming at the mouth with such ferocity that someone should check him for rabies. His conduct, frankly, in game one at Durban was appalling. He had to be restrained from getting to South Africa batsman Quinton de Kock off the field. Apparently, de Kock had made a personal comment.
This is rich from Australia and Warner, who constantly push the line on what is acceptable when it comes to verbally attacking their opponents on the pitch. Yet woe betide anyone whom they push actually crosses it. Nathan Lyon, another Aussie sniper, was almost as bad.
It’s pretty tiresome stuff. And punters would do well to ignore it all. It’s not a war. And betting one way or the other because you think it has affected a player, or team’s, capability to win is wrong.
Indeed, for this match our advice is to stick fingers in your ears and bet on Dean Elgar, one of the quiet men of the international game. Elgar, like the composer namesake, could hit all the right notes in Port Elizabeth, and he could have us up swaying contentedly if he cops for top batsman.
You see, Elgar has a terrific record at the venue. In fact, it’s extraordinary and, alongside Hashim Amla’s blockbuster numbers at SuperSport Park, it’s one of the best examples of ground form you are likely to see. In seven innings, Elgar has two centuries and two fifties.
Betfair offer a standout +550 that Elgar top scores in the first innings. That is a risk making him so big, particularly as there are concerns about the front two in the betting. AB De Villiers and Amla are both +333.
Sure, AB top scored in Durban but we’ve been concerned about his appetite for runs for some time. This could be his last series and he just doesn’t have the same swagger at the crease. His half-century in game one was his first for six innings. As for Amla, he has one fifty in eight and this could also be his swansong.
It is well known that these two are not quite at their best. What isn’t so readily available is how Elgar has taken over as SA’s best batter. AB often grabs the headlines, but it is Elgar who scores the runs. In the last 12 months he has 1,140, which is more than any other South African.