England and South Africa meet in the first Test of their three match series next week when the two sides go head to head at the Oval.
Looking at England to begin with, they are the current number one side in the world but know they must put in good performances to stay there.
The Three Lions brushed aside Australia with a 4-0 victory in the two team’s recent One Day International series. Although this is a different form of the game, it will surly give the side a great deal of confidence.
Andrew Strauss’ men have been fantastic in Test matches on home soil and really look to have the perfect balance in their side. At the Oval, which is known as a batting track, Strauss must pick the bowlers that are capable of taking 20 wickets over the five days.
James Anderson will be the man leading the attack and he will be looking to show he is the best fast bowler around at the moment.
After a comfortable series victory of West Indies earlier in the summer, England can go into this match well prepared and confident of beating a very good South Africa side.
As for South Africa, they will know that they can go up to the number one spot in this format of the game.
However, Graeme Smith’s side will have to be at their very best to beat England on their own turf.
The South Africans were dealt a blow this week when Mark Boucher suffered an eye injury in a tour match which ruled him out of the seires, this also saw him retire from Test cricket.
With the ball is where Smith feel as though his men can really hurt England. Dale Steyn will lead the attack and he will be well supported by the likes of Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.
With the English weather of late and with how even these two teams look to be, a draw looks to be the most likely results. A stalemate is available at 2.50 (6/4) with Bet365.
England will be confident about taking a 1-0 series lead. You can back them to do so at 3.00 (2/1) with Ladbrokes.
South Africa will know they will have to upset the odds to come out on top at the Oval, they are being offered at 3.30 (11/4).
Such is England’s batting quality at the moment that their likely top four – Andrew Strauss, Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen can all be backed at 5.00 (4/1) with StanJames to finish as the leading scorer in the series for the Three Lions.
South Africa’s most likely source of runs looks to come from veteran Jacques Kallis who has odds of 4.50 (7/2) with BoyleSports.
England have been superb on home soil in recent years and they may have too much for their opponents this summer. A 2-1 series win for the home side has odds of 8.50 (15/2) with BetFred.