South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph is expecting an England backlash when battle is resumed in the second Test at Headingley on Thursday (England 2/1, S Africa 21/20, draw 6/4 Match Prices with bet365).
The Proteas will take a 1-0 lead into the match courtesy of their crushing victory in the opener at the Oval.
A series success for the Africans will see them knock Andrew Strauss’s men off the top of the five-day rankings and they began their quest in sensational style with a triple century from Hashim Amla, plus tons by Jacques Kallis and skipper Graeme Smith.
Dale Steyn’s five-wicket haul completed the rout and the tourists appear full of confidence that they can keep up their winning ways in Leeds.
The Yorkshire venue has been a happy hunting ground for Smith’s men as they have won their last two Test encounters at the venue.
But Rudolph, who knows every blade of grass on the pitch having spent six seasons with the White Rose, feels England will come roaring back as they look to hold onto their status as top dogs (Rudolph 8/1 Top S Africa Batsman 1st Inns with bet365).
“England are the No 1 team in the world and we expect a strong fightback,” said the left-hander. “They’ve done really well in their own conditions so we’re prepared for what we’ll face.”
The Headingley pitch has been a batsman’s graveyard in years gone by but, as Rudolph confirmed, there are no longer any snakes in the grass with every chance of a high-scoring contest.
“There is a very strong perception that Headingley is a bowler-friendly wicket,” he added. “But when the sun’s out it’s a very nice place to bat.”