India tipped to beat South Africa in first Test

India may have been thrashed by South Africa last time out, but it is the Indians who are being tipped to prevail when the two sides meet for the first Test starting at Mohali tomorrow.  

To be fair, that 214 run hammering dished out by South Africa was in a One Day International, played under quite different circumstances to a five-day Test. However, the result showed the power of the South African batsmen as they notched up the third highest total in ODI history and Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers all hit centuries.

With the bookies making India 5/4 favourites to win the first of the four Test series, just what do the hosts have to their advantage?

Ed Hawkins, writing on Bet Fair, insists the matter is not so clear cut. “Above all the clash challenges the recent surge of home advantage. This era of Test cricket will be remembered as one-sided with the touring teams largely hopeless – from the last 50 series only 15 have been won by the away team.

“With South Africa as the No 1 side in the world and buoyant following victories in the T20 and ODI series that have preceded the serious stuff, this could be a rare occasion when a punter can bet on a visitor with confidence.”

However, Hawkins qualifies that assertion; he questions whether the South Africans, used to wickets that allow for bounce and swing, will be able to cope with India’s much more variable wickets.

On the plus side, as far as the South Africans are concerned, they have not lost a series away from their home shores in eight years, and that no doubt explains the tempting 9/5 for them to win the Mohali Test, with 7/2 the draw.

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