The South Africa v England series is level at 1-1 after an absorbing Second Test that went down to the final hour of play. England were in the driving seat for much of the match but South Africa showed some serious resistance.

At one stage it even looked like England would run out of overs. However, Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen were out playing unnecessary shots and in the end it was left to that man Ben Stokes.

Before all that, the inexperienced pair of openers Dom Sibley (England) and Peter Malan (South Africa) both impressed. Sibley hit a composed 133 not out before Malan put up a really good fight in the fourth innings. His battling 84 wasn’t enough to secure the stalemate but it’s more than enough to give him a decent run in the team.

All to play for as we head to Port Elizabeth.

Team News: South Africa

The Proteas are unlikely to make any changes for two good reasons. The first is that no-one had a particularly poor match in Cape Town except maybe number three batsman Zubayr Hamza. And Faf du Plessis, now that we mention it. The skipper could really do with a score after just 69 runs in four innings in this series. It’s obviously silly to talk about his place being at risk given his role as captain and fine Test career to date.

The second reason is that there’s not much else to bring in. Kolpak deals and a slight absence of promising youngsters means there aren’t many talented players waiting on the wings for their chance.

It would be a surprise if the hosts don’t play the same team again here.

Team News: England

There will be at least one enforced change for England. James Anderson, who has surely played his last overseas Test, has been ruled out of the series with injury.

The obvious move would be to bring back Jofra Archer in place of Anderson. The Sussex paceman missed the last Test with illness.

Another option would be to play Archer and leave a slightly out-of-sorts Stuart Broad out. That would mean playing an extra spinner in Jack Leach. But they’d have to be pretty certain that the wicket will spin at Port Elizabeth. So the smart money is on Archer coming in as a straight swap for the beleaguered Anderson.

Joe Root has been suffering with illness but will surely play given the importance of the occasion.

Venue for South Africa v England 3rd Test: Port Elizabeth

South Africa have a good record at Port Elizabeth, winning five of their last seven Tests here. But they’ll have bad memories of their last visit here.

Last February they lost to Sri Lanka in a low-scoring match. The tourists ended up chasing 197 in the fourth innings, with eight wickets in hand.

The year before that Kasigo Rabada was outstanding against Australia. He took 11 wickets in the match as the Proteas chased 102 with ease in the fourth innings.

There’s a decent chance this could be another lively wicket, which could make for a thrilling spectacle where every run is important.

 Match Odds for South Africa v England

Bet365 are finding it somewhat hard to split the two, going 2.25 about England and 2.37 on South Africa.

The obvious thing to do in Test cricket when winning the toss is to bat first, have first use of the wicket and then use a wearing pitch to bowl out the opposition.

But the last two Tests here were won by the side fielding first, which somewhat muddies the waters.

The slight preference goes for a satta on the hosts at the marginally bigger price but there’s not much in it, so it won’t be one of our cricket betting tips for this match.

England First Innings Top Batsman

The best of our cricket betting free tips is therefore in the England (First Innings) Top Bowler market. We can dismiss the spinners Bess (5.0) and Leach (5.0) because the wicket is unlikely to turn much in the first innings and Ben Stokes because he’s unlikely to bowl enough overs to have a fair crack of the whip at getting the most wickets.

That leaves Archer (3.6), Broad (4.00 and Sam Curran (4.5). Archer had a poor First Test and has not quite been himself since a summer of huge exertions. Broad was somewhat fortunate to pick up a crucial late wicket in that Second Test but his rhythm hasn’t been good and he’s looked a bit short on pace.

It all makes Curran, the obvious but smart satta. He’s tied top on eight wickets for the Series with Broad and could go well on a wicket that should suit him.

Recommended bet for South Africa v England

Back Sam Curran to be England First Innings Top Bowler @ 4.5 with Betway

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