Proteas Set To Edge Out Windies

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The first Test between West Indies and South Africa starts on Thursday.

Dean Elgar

West Indies and South Africa will renew old rivalries when their two-Test series gets underway on Thursday.

The Proteas have enjoyed much success against their opponents over the years – in 28 Test matches since 1992, South Africa have won 18 matches with the Windies only picking up three wins.

Both teams are still in a state of transition, highlighted by the odds. The tourists are 6/5 to win the First Test, which starts on Thursday, with West Indies 7/5 and a draw is available to back at 19/5.

Proteas Batsmen Out to Continue Good Form

This Test series sees the countries ranked sixth and seventh in the world rankings go up against each other, with both sides having had a recent change of captain.

Kraigg Brathwaite has taken over the reins from Jason Holder for the hosts, while Dean Elgar will lead the tourists following Faf du Plessis’ retirement from Test cricket.

There are more new faces in both camps, particularly in the batting line-ups, as the two sides look to blood younger players with one eye on the future. South Africa, in particular, have several youngsters to watch, while Aiden Markram is expected to be one of their main threats with the bat.

The man from Centurian scored 227 runs in four innings during South Africa’s tour of Pakistan in the winter, a series the Proteas lost 2-0, with Markram smashing a fifth Test century (108) in the second Test in Rawalpindi.

The 26-year-old, facing West Indies at Test level for the first time, is 10/3 to be the top run-scorer in the first innings.

Roach the Windies Danger Man

West Indies might have a poor record against South Africa, but they do come into this Test series on the back of some reasonable form, unbeaten in their last four five-day matches.

Those were against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, both below South Africa in the Test standings, but they are often tough to beat on home soil.

The form of Kemar Roach may be a deciding factor in the opening Test – the paceman took nine wickets in the recent two-Test series against Sri Lanka and will be fancied to strike again, when facing an inexperienced batting attack.

Roach, who has 214 Test wickets to his name, is available at 5/2 to collect the most wickets for the Windies in the first innings of the First Test.

Closely-Fought Match on the Cards

Despite history being in South Africa’s favour, this Test match is a hard one to call, with both sides looking pretty evenly matched on paper.

West Indies’ recent form should stand them in good stead but their bowling attack is likely to be blunted by the absence of Shannon Gabriel, who will miss at least the first Test through injury.

Much will depend on the performance of the Windies skipper Brathwaite. With recent knocks of 126 and 85, he clearly has the form and ability to lift his side.

South Africa have lost eight of their last 11 Test matches and will want to get back to winning ways quickly and their hopes look to largely rest on their likely opening partnership of Elgar and Markram.

If they set a good platform for the rest of the batting line-up, then the tourists should have enough to win. It’s worth noting that you can back South Africa to have the highest first-innings opening partnership at 4/7.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Warren has been employed as a sport journalist for over two decades and as well as years of written experience, has also worked in other areas of the media including radio and television. Football has always been his number one passion, but has also commentated and written on a number of other sports including golf, cricket, tennis and rugby.

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