With the series won in spectacular fashion at the Wanderers, Alistair Cook’s side could be forgiven for approaching the dead rubber without the fierce intensity so prevalent in the previous three games.
England have history in this area as they went to the Oval last year with the Ashes in safe keeping and simply weren’t at the races. However, coach Trevor Bayliss has had longer to work with this squad and their mind-set could be altogether different from the approach which surrounded that end of series defeat in the summer.
The loss of Steve Finn is a blow, especially given how he has bowled without much luck during the series, but in the improving Chris Woakes or left-armer Mark Footitt, England have potentially interesting replacements.
It would be good to see Footitt in particular as he has been bustling up England’s batters in the nets with raw pace and his inclusion would represent a different proposition given his angle of delivery.
South Africa, again without Dale Steyn, appear likely to recall the fit-again Kyle Abbot to the attack and his consistency of line and length was much missed at the Wanderers, while Stephen Cook, prolific in domestic cricket, is set to debut at the head of the order to try and shore up a problem area for the hosts.
England have their own issues at the top of the order with Alex Hales continuing to be exposed outside the off stump and captain Cook struggling to make an impact on the series.
The middle order has come to the rescue of the visitors on a number of occasions, but Cook began to strike the ball with more authority at the Wanderers and England will need him firing with the average opening stand by visiting teams at Centurion just 21.25, the worst at any venue where there have been a minimum of 15 innings.
In short, England still have plenty to play for with Hales, Nick Compton and James Taylor all striving to become permanent fixtures while Johnny Bairstow needs 121 runs to overhaul Alec Stewart and become England’s record run-scoring wicketkeeper in a series.
Hopefully, Jimmy Anderson will also be hungry to make an impact at a venue where he has enjoyed success in the past and the psychological damage done to South Africa’s batting by Stuart Broad in Jo’burg could just tip the balance in England’s favour.
The visitors are unbeaten in four trips to SuperSport Park, winning just once in the infamous 2000 Test set up by Hansie Cronje, so they are taken to narrowly prevail in the draw no bet market.
Joe Root continues to impress and can top the batting markets again as he did in the Third test for us, while Hashim Amla averages plenty at Centurion and is the pick of the South Africans given Broad appears to have worked out a way of dismissing AB de Villiers.