Now that we’ve got the white ball stuff done and dusted, we can start looking forward to some good old-fashioned test cricket!
After England’s relatively positive Champions Trophy campaign and T20 win against South Africa, I’m relatively positive about our chances against The Proteas in this Test Series, however, I have to say, I am a little bit underwhelmed by the selections.
Toby Roland-Jones is a decent, young player, but I’m not sure if Dawson is the best spin bowler we’ve got.
There could even be a chance that we play four or five seamers at Lords, which is crazy, because by the time you get down to the fourth or fifth man, they never really end up getting much of a bowl – if the sun’s out my preferred choice would be to use two spinners. It’s a flat pitch at Lords, so I’m expecting there to be plenty of runs as well.
Joe Root captains the Test side for the first time tomorrow and he must be absolutely bursting with excitement. Crikey O’Riley – his heart is going to be pounding out of his chest and it’s got to be one of the proudest days of his life!
Walking out for the first time, down the stairs, with all the history of Lords and thinking about the England Captains that have gone before him will be such an incredible feeling, but he’s got to put a lid on it and remain focused, which I’m sure he will.
Gary Balance has been recalled to England’s squad for the First Test and he’s been full of runs for Yorkshire, averaging 101 in the County Championship this season. It’s good news for England that he comes into the test in good form, but I do have to question whether he’s the answer at 3, because when you’ve got the likes of Rabada steaming in at you, it’s a different story to playing County Cricket.
South Africa have got too many key players missing for me, but saying that, it’s a great opportunity for the new guys to come in and prove themselves.
Faf du Plessis will be a big miss for The Proteas – he’s been the glue that’s kept the squad together over the last eighteen months and will be a big miss.
It’s disappointing that we won’t see the big man, AB de Villiers either – you always want to see the best play in the big fixtures, so I must say, I’m disappointed that he’s taken a step back away from Test cricket.
South Africa are light on the batting, but Hashim Amla will always score them runs (5/2 to be top run scorer), and so, their strength lies in the bowling with guys like Kagiso Rabada (11/4 to be top wicket taker) and Morne Morkle (11/4 to be top wicket taker), who are more than capable of causing England some problems.
Dean Elgar captains South Africa for the first time as well tomorrow, so he’ll have something to prove – it could well be battle of the new skippers!
England are 9/10 to win the first Test Match against South Africa (13/5), and I think the price is about right – they’ll be too strong for them and I’m confident that Rooty will start his time as England’s Test Captain with a victory – come on lads!!
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