With rain in the air over the next few days, the draw is currently trading as favourite with odds of 6/4 (BetVictor free bets) about the match finishing all square although the postponed overs can be made up pretty easily in modern cricket and we could see a result after five days of play at Headingley.
England have certainly got to find a good deal of improvement from somewhere and they can be backed at 9/4 (bet365 £200 free bets) to bounce back from that setback at Kennington and leave everything to play for at Lord’s later this month.
There will have been plenty of soul-searching after that heavy 1st Test defeat where the batsmen were particularly poor when it came to giving their wicket away, although the diminutive James Taylor comes in at number six and will hope to continue the sort of form that saw him recently manage 163 for Nottinghamshire.
The rest of the batting order will remain the same and Alastair Cook was the only player to emerge with much credit at The Oval with a fantastic knock of 115 runs before things started to go pear-shaped in the 2nd innings. The firms are wary of the Essex opener and some make him favourite to be England’s top run scorer again, with William Hill quoting 7/2.
More is expected of Andrew Strauss who managed a sum total of 27 runs across two innings although the England captain will hope to lead by example and odds of 9/2 (Betfred free bets) make plenty of appeal about someone who knows how to battle hard in times of adversity.
Even so, the South Africans will be brimming with confidence as they head to west Yorkshire in a bid to tie up the series and some will be gobbling up odds of 9/4 (bet365) that the tourists go 2-0 up following on from that massive 1st Test win.
Middle-order batsman Jacques Rudolph has called for his team to re-focus after such an emphatic win, with Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis causing untold damage with the bat.
“Our challenge will be to get off the wave of the first Test match, from a mental point of view,” Rudolph said. “Obviously it was a convincing win for us but we are not too results orientated. We expect a strong fight back and we are prepared for what we are going to face.”