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SA vs ENG, 1st Test Preview: South Africa welcome England in Boucher’s first assignment as head coach | Probable Playing XI and Pitch Report

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SA vs ENG, 1st Test Match details:

Date: 26 December 2019

Venue: SuperSport Park, Centurion

Series: England tour of South Africa, 2019/20

  • Fans from both countries will be eagerly waiting for this clash, with this being the second big meeting between the countries across all sports after the Rugby World Cup final.
  • England’s Test record in 2019 has been abysmal, losing the 2-match series to New Zealand and also failed to regain the Ashes having drawn the series 2-2.
  • Things haven’t been different for the hosts, who lost their previous six Test matches and are desperate to get back on track.

SA vs ENG, 1st Test Match Preview:

The Kingsmead, Durban has traditionally hosted several Boxing Day Tests in the past and for a change, only for the second time, it’ll the SuperSport Park, Centurion doing the honors. Last year, they annihilated the Pakistani outfit in 3 days but a lot has changed in the course of time.

Also Read: SA vs ENG, 1st Test: South Africa seek happy end to bad year against England

 

This will Mark Boucher’s first assignment having taken over the responsibility as the head coach. Many are touting this to be the new era with significant changes happening in the coaching staff and in the board committee, in a bid to tackle the challenges that a transition period poses.

The English batsmen are yet to find their feet since the retirement of Sir Alastair Cook. Their top order hasn’t contributed well in recent months, although Rory Burns’ good run has promised some good future.

Both sides are in pursuit of finding some form, trying to stay relevant in the Test championship. The hosts are rock-bottom on the table having failed to open their account, whilst England are 6th with 56 points to their credit.

Teams News for SA vs ENG, 1st Test:

South Africa

Although the track might not be well-suited for the spinners, they could give Keshar Maharaj a shot to see if the extra bounce could help him some way. Vernon Philander will be hogging all possible limelight having called time on a remarkable career. This series will be his last involvement with the national side. Besides the experienced Faf du Plessis in the middle order, there will be some testing times for the likes of Rassie van der Dussen and Zubayr Hamza.

Expected Playing XI: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (wk), Dwaine Pretorious, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Ainrich Nortje

England

James Anderson is back in the mix for the English having playing his last Test against the Australians in the Ashes. Broad, Anderson and Jofra Archer form a lethal trio, with Jack Leach and Ben Stokes being the fourth and fifth bowling options. Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley will continue to open the innings and the onus of handling the batting department will fall heavily on the shoulders of Ben Stokes and Joe Root.

Expected Playing XI: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (C), Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, Jack Leach, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

Also Read: England batsmen must score big in first innings to beat South Africa, says Silverwood

 

Weather report:

There could no interruptions on the first day, but rain threat will be looming around as we inch closer to the New Year. The weather predictions for Friday and Saturday aren’t very promising, but it isn’t very threatening as well.

Pitch report:

Known to be one of the quickest in the Safari lands, the Centurion pitch could provide great zip off the track to the fast bowlers. Not a lot of runs will be on offer for the spectators, but there will be some nasty bouncers and awkward take-offs making the batsmen duck for safety.

Toss prediction for SA vs ENG, 1st Test:

Contrary to the usual, this is a field-first venue going by the unpredictable nature of the pitch. Teams batting second have won 10 times here, whilst the team batting first won 7 times. It would be a wise call to pick the ball up first if you’re winning the toss, assess the conditions and approach the next innings accordingly.




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