South Africa Seek Happy End to Bad Year Against England

Centurion: South Africa will search a contented finish to what has been a depressing yr for the nation’s cricket group after they play England within the first match of a World Check Championship sequence, beginning at SuperSport Park on Thursday.

They are going to be enjoying at a floor which has been a fortress for the hosts, the place they’ve gained 19 of 24 Checks.

England, although, have bucked the pattern, being concerned in 4 of the 5 matches on the floor which haven’t led to victory for South Africa – a win, albeit in contrived circumstances, and three attracts.

Solely as soon as have South Africa come out on prime towards their oldest foes at Centurion, on England’s earlier tour 4 years when Kagiso Rabada, then aged 20, had match figures of 13 for 144 in what was a useless rubber sport, with England having already gained the sequence.

It’s not solely at Centurion the place England have loved success in South Africa. Cheered on by massive teams of travelling supporters, they gained sequence in 2004/05 and 2015/16 and shared the honours in 2009/10.

South Africa haven’t vanquished England at dwelling since 1999/2000, after they had already secured the sequence earlier than Hansie Cronje persuaded Nasser Hussain to hunt a one-innings consequence after three full days had been misplaced to rain. It was later revealed that Cronje, who was ultimately banned after a corruption scandal, had been involved with a bookmaker.

South African cricket has been in upheaval after a turbulent yr throughout which the Proteas misplaced a house Check sequence towards Sri Lanka – the primary group apart from England and Australia to win in South Africa – earlier than enduring a depressing Cricket World Cup in England and Wales and being trounced 3-Zero of their World Check Championship debut in India.

It has emerged that the World Cup marketing campaign was undermined by interference from officers, whereas a long-running feud between Cricket South Africa and the South African Cricketers’ Affiliation culminated in calls, as but unheeded, for the board to resign and the suspension of chief govt Thabang Moroe.

Since then, former captain Graeme Smith has been made interim director of cricket and Mark Boucher was named head coach. Boucher shortly introduced in Jacques Kallis, South Africa’s most-capped participant, as batting guide and a temper of optimism has emerged within the South African camp.

The fact, although, is that the South African group has been hit onerous by the retirement of a few of the nation’s all-time nice gamers, together with AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.

The group is brief on expertise, particularly within the batting, whereas the bowling shares have been hit by accidents and the choice of a number of succesful gamers to take up Kolpak contracts in England.

England additionally look weak of their top-order batting, the place three of their possible prime six have but to ascertain themselves absolutely as Check gamers, whereas the sickness of front-line bowlers Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Jack Leach has disrupted their preparations.

James Anderson, on his fourth Check tour of South Africa, is about to develop into solely the second England participant after Alastair Cook dinner to seem in 150 Check matches.

Having recovered from a calf harm sustained firstly of the Ashes sequence towards Australia in August, he’ll look to enhance on a modest Check file in South Africa of 25 wickets in eight Checks at a median of 39.92.

Potential groups

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Dwaine Pretorius or Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje

England: Joe Root (capt), Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wkt), Chris Woakes or Sam Curran or Jack Leach, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

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