Whisper it gently, but an England Test team that has won just two overseas series in the past seven years is suddenly favourite to claim the spoils in their fast-approaching four-match series against South Africa.

Perhaps that's got something to do with the surge of confidence the sport has received in sweeping the board at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Or perhaps it has more to do with the extraordinary levels of turmoil that South Africa have been subjected to of late.

Either way, England go into the first Test in Centurion on Boxing Day as 5/4 series favourites, with South Africa a whisker behind them on 6/4 and the draw offering a smidgeon of value at 3/1.

There's even less between them for the first-Test spoils - 11/8 for South Africa, 13/10 for England, who will be leaning heavily on a resurgent Joe Root in their middle order, and hoping that Jofra Archer's subdued showing in New Zealand is just a case of him getting the ring-rust out of the way.

Root is 5/2 favourite to be England's top-scorer in the first innings, after finishing the New Zealand campaign with a fluent double-century, while Rory Burns - another centurion on that trip - is 7/2.

Ben Stokes, the newly-crowned SPOTY champion, is 6/1 to be England's top run-scorer, which is surely worth a flutter - especially when you consider what he got up to on his last trip to South Africa, specifically that extraordinary 258 at Cape Town.