South Africa v India Boxing Day Test: Latest Odds & Analysis

Date IconLast Updated: 2 Jan 2024
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South Africa v India Boxing Day Test: Latest Odds & Analysis

South Africa v India predictions: 

When: Tuesday 26 December, 10:00am SAST (1:30pm IST)

Where: SuperSport Park, Centurion

Watch: Star Sports, Hotstar (Supersport in South Africa)

Best Odds: South Africa 3.45, Draw 3.5, India 2.48

It’s one of the most compelling Test tours in world cricket.

Outside of ending their 12-year drought without a major ICC trophy, one of India’s unfulfilled holy grails remains a Test series victory in South Africa.

Eight different squads have come and gone after the space of a 30-year period, and whilst four of the last five were able to win one of the two or three matches on tour, they ultimately came home with nothing more than a 1-1 draw in 2010.

The 2006 and 2021 tours both saw them get off to a winning start only to lose the series, with the most recent resulting in a famous capitulation where Virat Kohli and KL Rahul both expressed their dissatisfaction with the host broadcaster in a mini-meltdown.

The teams are suitably evenly matched on most cricket betting sites when it comes to the series winner market, but India have been graded as favourites to go 1-0 up in Centurion, perhaps off the back of that 2021 victory.


The Numbers That Matter

  • Nine of the last 11 Centurion Tests were won batting first
  • All but two of those games had first innings scores of 325+ runs
  • Aiden Markram is the only active South African with a Test 100 in Centurion
  • Virat Kohli top scored in four of India’s last seven innings

India’s win will be our win

South Africa come into this series having won 19 of their last 23 Tests in Centurion, but India’s triumph two years ago is certainly the most notable exception.

This time they’ll be without Mohammed Shami, who claimed a match-best eight wickets on that occasion, but nonetheless return to Centurion with the trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and potentially Ravichandran Ashwin, who all played in 2021.

In the 24 hours leading up to the toss, they’ll have to work out a replacement for Shami.

The options are Mukesh Kumar, Prasidh Krishna, or to field both Ashwin and Jadeja alongside Shardul Thakur.

Whoever they go with, it’ll be the South African absences that will likely be felt more significantly. 

They’ll be missing Anrich Nortje and maybe even Lungi Ngidi and/or Kagiso Rabada, meaning they could be bowling with the inexperienced pair of Gerald Coetzee and Marco Jansen and have to look to someone like Wiaan Mulder as a third seamer.

With the experience of the previous tour behind them, this ‘golden generation’ should be stronger than any Indian side to tour Africa.

Prediction: India to win - 2.4 @ Parimatch

A new role and potentially a new chapter for KL

It’s a bold move predicting a man who is not even guaranteed selection to top score for the first innings, but hear us out.

There appears to be no space in the top order for the versatile KL Rahul, who in order to retain his place in the side will likely have to be selected as a wicketkeeper ahead of specialist gloveman KS Bharat.

But as his career progresses, he has shown an immeasurable adaptability when it comes to changing his position in a batting order between the top and middle orders, and there could be no better place than South Africa - the last country in which he top scored for India in a Test - to establish himself as the new number five after Ajinkya Rahane.

KL recorded a century in Centurion opening the batting in 2021, as well as an innings-best 50 in Johannesburg.

This time, if the top order does their jobs properly, he won’t have to face a new ball nor a fresh set of fast bowlers, but of course we don’t want the openers to go so well that he cannot outscore them!

Prediction: KL Rahul India top 1st innings scorer - 6.5 @ Parimatch

Elgar’s fine finale

You can get an over/under line of 59.5 or thereabouts (depending on your site of choice) for Dean Elgar’s match runs total in his Centurion farewell, but given he has claimed five catches in his last four Tests (worth ten ‘player performance’ points each), this could be a potentially better value option.

The red ball specialist’s lack of regular cricket played a part in his decision to call it quits at age 36, and it has left some people reasonably questioning whether he’ll be able to pull it all together for his first Test in nine months.

But there is some encouraging recent history that has us wanting to back the ‘overs’.

From his eight domestic innings for Titans across November and December, Elgar recorded two centuries and a further three scores of between 30 and 50.

In addition, he scored 78 match runs in the 2021 Test against India following a six month break between Tests, and in 2019 made 160 in India after nearly seven months off.

He could very well follow in the footsteps of David Warner and go out with a bang by adding to his five 50+ scores against India. We hope he does.

Prediction: Dean Elgar over 68.5 PP points - 1.83 @ Parimatch