Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

England v South Africa, Second Test - Statistical Preview

England v South Africa, Second Test - Statistical Preview

"As South Africans, we've got to accept that South Africa are going to be middle of the road in their future Test cricket".

Ballance saw off competition from the likes of Mark Stoneman, who is enjoying an excellent first season at Surrey, and Tom Westley, whose runs have helped Essex to the top of the County Championship.

They named an unchanged 12-man squad for the match at Trent Bridge on Friday.

'I think it's really important that Jimmy is smart in looking after his body and the way he's gone about it this week has been just that.

"Everyone's philosophy on batting is slightly different".

"I understand why people want to talk about it, because it is interesting to see the new captain and the old captain still in the side", he said. It was just the other way round with me throwing a few ideas at him.

Memories of their last Test in Nottingham, when Stuart Broad took a staggering eight for 15 as Australia were routed for 60 during the 2015 Ashes are still fresh.

He's picked up more wickets off no-balls, 13, than anyone else: "Somebody needs to hold one record", he quipped. The shock was when Ben Stokes told me to move fielding positions.

Jimmy Anderson missed that famous Test two years ago and has only bowled sparingly in the two days leading up to this second Test.

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There was something perhaps approaching a tone of relief as Cook assessed his return, after his own record-breaking tenure, to what he unquestionably does best of all - scoring Test match runs for England.

"I was a bit upset because I didn't think I got a nick to Colin Cowdrey at first slip and I was given out caught".

In their last seven games at Trent Bridge, England have won six and drawn one.

The wounds are mostly figurative, although Kagiso Rabada has absented himself from the second Test after a salty outburst at Lord's led to him accumulating a fourth demerit point. I'm not convinced Vernon Philander was fully fit even before having his wrist badly bruised by James Anderson, while Morne Morkel is risky but inconsistent and Rabada's replacement will either be the inexperienced Duanne Olivier or Chris Morris, a gifted all-rounder but not a bowler who will terrify Test batsmen.

But he was on hand to see South Africa lose 10 wickets in under two sessions as they slumped to 119 all out in their second innings with more than a day to spare. "That's not been mentioned enough", said du Plessis. "With the challenges we are facing now it wouldn't be possible".

"The batting line-up we had to get out twice included (Geoffrey) Boycott, (Bob) Barber, (Ken) Barrington, Cowdrey, MJK Smith and Jim Parks".

Du Plessis had indicated in the aftermath of South Africa's 211-run defeat at Lord's that Duminy's place was in jeopardy.

"I think that's why it's (so) disappointing to be sitting here after things capitulated as they did". "We expect them to come back hard, to be right on it from the first ball".

South Africa (Probable): Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis (captain), Temba Bavuma, Quinton De Kock (wicketkeeper), Chris Morris, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Morne Morkel.

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