The Cricketer
Owen Riley Owen Riley

ENGLAND V SOUTH AFRICA: TRENT BRIDGE PREVIEW

South Africa look to bounce back at Nottingham

After handing South Africa their first Test defeat at Lord’s since 1960 – Brian Statham took eleven wickets in that match, as England won by an innings and 73 runs - the hosts haven’t had much time to bask in the glow of victory as the series moves north to Trent Bridge on Friday.

Trevor Bayliss has hinted that his side will be unchanged from the victory in the capital where Joe Root dragged South Africa through the mire for early drops, and Moeen Ali whipped and twirled his way past 2,000 Test runs and 100 Test wickets, earning him the man-of-the-match award.

South Africa were without their captain, Faf du Plessis, but he was at Lord’s on Sunday and looks certain to return and lead the side, adding some much-needed ballast to the batting order.

One man who won’t be putting on the whites is Kagiso Rabada, after picking up a fourth demerit point and one-Test ban, for in no uncertain terms, asking Ben Stokes to leave the field, post-haste! His will be large clogs to fill, even though he wasn’t at the height of his game at Lord’s.

South Africa will have their work cut out to prevent England from retaining the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy with two Tests two play.

Replacing Rabada

With 77 wickets at 24.09 in 18 Tests, it won’t be an easy task to replace Rabada. The three candidates are Chris Morris, Duanne Olivier and Andile Phehlukwayo.

De Kock discusses Kagiso Rabada's one-Test ban

Allrounder Morris has not played Test cricket since facing England at Cape Town and Johannesburg in January 2016, where he averaged 32 with the bat, taking four wickets at 63.25. He’s known for his big hitting in white-ball cricket, so he may add something to the lower-order batting, but with a top score of 69 - on a Cape Town pitch yielding mega-runs - his technique would face a sterner examination at Trent Bridge.

Olivier has one Test cap to his name and 259 first-class wickets at 20.97. He was by far the leading wicket-taker in the 2016/17 Sunfoil Series, taking 52 at 18.13 (his nearest rival claimed 34). He would certainly have an 'unknown' factor.

Phehlukwayo featured in all three ODIs and the three T20Is, so England and South Africa alike have had a decent look at him. He has only played 24 first-class matches in his career however, it would be a big call to throw him into the fray at Trent Bridge with the series on the line.

Dawson’s Peak

Days one to three at Lord’s didn’t offer Liam Dawson a great deal to yell about from the rooftops. A second-ball duck was followed by a couple of wickets late on in South Africa’s first innings, those of Keshav Maharaj and Rabada. Another second-ball duck followed as a rabid Rabada obliterated his middle stump with a full bunger.

A turning delivery to beat Hashim Amla’s blade will boost his confidence, the celebration told us so. The scalp of Amla is never to be sniffed at, but the Hampshire allrounder’s match in total, was not been nearly sparkling enough to hush the murmurs of his selection as an underwhelming one.

If England continue with two spinners, the question will be, how much more can he offer...

Dawson celebrates the wicket of Hashim Amla

Where to put de Kock?

What a player to have at No.7, but South Africa’s top six is not strong enough to warrant him coming in so low.

On talent alone there’s no way de Kock should be batting behind Theunis de Bruyn and JP Duminy. The latter hasn’t scored more than 20 in his past six innings and is under increasing pressure to produce a sustained run of form.

They need to give the wicketkeeper-batsman a chance in a loftier position, as England have done so with Jonny Bairstow. In neither innings at Lord’s did de Kock have a realistic chance to perfect his craft, coming in at No.8 in the first innings, he was promoted to No.5 in the second, but by that stage the game was well on the way to being lost.

Teams

England: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Joe Root*, Jonny Bairstow†, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson.

South Africa (probable): Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis*, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock†, Theunis de Bruyn, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Morne Morkel.

If South Africa feel the need for an extra bowler, expect to see Morris come in for de Bruyn.

Weather

The forecast is set to be fair for the majority of the five days meaning we should get a result. Of the last 12 Tests at the Nottingham venue, only one has ended in a draw, where we witnessed Jimmy Anderson register his highest Test score (81) and both sides recorded 10th-wicket century stands.