About the Match
With the second test drawn, England continues to lead the test series 1-0 and will be eager to put up another good performance in the 3rd Test against hosts South Africa at Johannesburg starting on 14th January. While the visitors triumphed with an emphatic victory in the opening test match by 241 runs, the hosts fought hard to draw the second test by putting up a fierce batting display. The upcoming match is a must-win for South Africa if they want to keep the series alive; England on the other hand are charged up to dominate the hosts and emerge victorious here.
In the absence of Steyn
, Morkel will continue to lead the pace attack while the young Kagiso Rabada, who picked up a total of 4 wickets in the 2nd test, will be in the supporting role. Piedt put up a brilliant performance in the 2nd innings as he picked up 3 wickets and helped them draw the match. Chris Morris and Dean Elgar provide variety to the attack and they are prepared to pick up crucial wickets.
Hashim Amla posted a heroic 201 and helped the hosts in controlling the 2nd test; although he won’t be the captain, he will continue to bring his experience and skills to the table. AB de Villiers will lead the side and his well-made 88 along with Plessis’s 86 runs helped them keep the scoreboard ticking in the last match. The talented Bavuma impressed as he scored 102 runs coming down at No. 6 while Chris Morris played his role as an all-rounder contributing with 69 runs to take the total to 627 runs.
Although they lost the first test in a humiliating way, their determination in the second test earned praise and they are definitely motivated to win the upcoming match.
While the top order couldn’t build a strong foundation in the last match, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow stitched a path breaking 399-run stand for the 6th wicket to post a competitive total of 627 runs. Stokes, who has been performing well with the bat, posted a brilliant 258 off 198 deliveries before getting run-out while Bairstow put up an inspiring 150 runs. Earlier Alex Hales and Joe Root contributed with well-made half centuries while Compton scored 45 runs; Cook and Taylor couldn’t impress much and they will need to come out all guns blazing here.
Stuart Broad and Steve Finn took 2 wickets apiece while Stokes, Jimmy Anderson and Moeen Ali did well to contain the run-flow of the opposition. In the first test, Broad and Ali were the pick of the bowlers with 4 wickets each in the first innings while Finn and Ali took 7 wickets between them in the 2nd innings to help them win the match in a big way.
Batsmen like Bairstow, Stokes, Root and Hales are in good form; bowling unit has got good results here and they will try to pressurise the hosts to make errors on the field. England was way below par as far as fielding is concerned as they dropped several crucial catches which might have just cost them the match. They'd have to make sure to make amends if they want to repeat first test's performance. England has come a long way from their poor run last year and they will put up a stiff challenge yet again.
While South Africa hasn’t stepped up yet to take advantage of playing at home, their recent performance has been commendable.England still enjoys the 1-0 lead in the series and looks confident to come out all guns blazing, South Africa will certainly fight harder this time to level the series with a much-needed win here. The batting of both the teams looker better than their bowling and for the same reason, a draw is also on the cards. While South Africa will miss the services of Steyn, finding Amla, Du Plessis amongst the runs is a major plus for them. With home advantage and regained confidence, the Proteas look better placed to make a comeback with a much better show and win this game at Johannesburg.