About the Match
Test Cricket returns to England in one of the most novelty ways. On one side it will be Joe Root leading the home side and on the other it will be Dean Elgar calling at the toss. Unlike the shorter formats, this battle is expected to be intriguing which will start on 5th July at 9:30 am GMT. First Test as a skipper for both Elgar and Root will create a plot of battle within a battle. South Africa will be on a little lighter side with AB de Villiers set to miss the entire series. Both the teams are building for future with most of their star players either retired or set to retire in recent years and we would surely see a glimpse of things to come in this 4-match series.
Just about a year-and-a-half ago in South Africa, the home side was rattled by little fancied visitors England with Ben Stokes emerging as their new hero and new brand of Cricket taking birth. Since then England have played a new brand of Cricket which is attacking and ruthless and have been extremely successful in that.
Although there were a few hiccups for England when they toured the subcontinent, but they showed the shadow of the talents they have in the store. The youngsters like Liam Dawson, Keaton Jennings, and Toby Roland-Jones have all done well in the domestic circuit and will be rearing to go. The presence of Alastair Cook adds a sense of calmness to their batting lineup.
Their bowlers have done extremely well in the English conditions in the recent times with Mark Wood being the pick of their bowlers. The presence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad will add sharpness and experience to their bowling lineup. Moeen Ali’s batting in the lower order has been inspirational which has so often provided much needed thrust to an innings which would have otherwise folded for a paltry total.
This English side has a positive mindset and they play aggressive Cricket and their recent record validates the positive results they’ve obtained with this new approach. Given the conditions and sides, should England continue to play like this, it would be extremely hard to beat them.
South Africa will start their campaign without their regular skipper Faf du Plessis which had added additional responsibility on the shoulders of Dean Elgar. Hashim Alma will be a key player at the top of the order and the way he negotiates the English quicks will govern how the Proteas play them as a whole.
Out of 203 caps among the top seven of South Africa, 103 are for Hashim Amla. The other experienced players in the lineup are JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock. JP Duminy hasn’t been in the best of form, but the much-important position of number four might just be the boost he’s looking for in his career. Quniton de Kock has done well in the last couple of years in all formats and his brisk innings have helped the Proteas come out of the hole quite often.
Heino Kuhn is expected to debut in this all-important test. The bowlers include the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. Vernon Philander has traditionally enjoyed bowling in swinging conditions and he might be the one South Africa will be banking on. Morne Morkel has emerged as an improved bowler and he might be the only South African who made the exit from Champions Trophy with his reputation enhanced.
It was a bitter last couple of months for Proteas in South Africa as they lost in both One Day series and T20I series. To add salt to the wound was their exit from the Champions Trophy where they registered only one win. England, on the other hand, have enjoyed their resurgence since they’ve adopted the new approach. Cricket is a funny game and while this Test could go either way, England go in as favorites largely because of the form they’re in and home advantage