ENG vs SA - 2nd Investec Test preview.WRITTEN BY THE EDITOR ON JULY 13, 2017. POSTED IN SPORTS
The first test at Lords was an enthralling affair, with missed opportunities by the Proteas ultimately setting them up for a crushing defeat by the dominant English team.
There was some uncertainty around how Joe Root would go as the new English skipper, but a huge hundred off his own bat and a 211 run team victory made a very definite statement to start the series.
After the summer they have already had in the UK, the Proteas team must be thinking that things are only going from bad to worse after this last loss. With Kagiso Rabada suspended for the second test on top of this, it could be borderline panic stations for the visitors.
Or is it?
As we move into the crucial 2nd test at Trent Bridge, let’s look at a few key areas of analysis as there’s certainly more than one way to look at what is about to follow.
Return of the Faf
Prior to the Lords hammering, the Proteas had won 7 of their last 11 test matches. That’s a great record, and that has a huge amount to do with Faf Du Plessis leading the team. As a skipper he brings the best out of his players, and personally the extra responsibility sees him average 57.2 with the bat as opposed to 41 when playing under another captain.
He of course wasn’t available for the 1st test, and it showed as the Proteas were ill-disciplined in the field, lacked general fight and were found severely wanting in the middle order with the bat. Faf will make a big difference in all those departments, and his general presence is something that the opposition are constantly aware of.
The Proteas backlash
The Proteas have lost just one away series in test cricket in the last 10 years. That is a record they hold because they possess a lot more fight than your average team. This factor gets discussed to the point of it being a cliche, but you can’t ignore it.
Since that heroic win against the Aussies in Sydney back in 1994 where Fanie De Villiers helped the team achieve the impossible, the Proteas have made a habit of digging deep and mustering up something special when needed most. The Lords test would have really hurt this reputation, so for it to happen again is extremely unlikely.
England on the up and up in more ways than one
English cricket has come a long way in recent years, and they seem to have learned a great deal from any lows they have experienced. Their ODI team were the laughing stock of the cricketing world back at the 2015 ICC World Cup, but they are now a real force to be reckoned with.
This test team too has suffered some disappointments, but when you look at the players they have at their disposal and what they are capable of, they are really building into something special. They have relatively young and dynamic cricketers who are looking to take this team places, and that The Lords test reminded us of that. They are bold, they have belief, and in all scenarios they seem to have a way to take the game away from the opposition.
They have always had talented players, but then there would be weak areas in the team that would negate them. Now everyone seems to offer something to this team, and it is really taking the team forward.
Home ground advantage
Lords was the ground the Proteas would have seen as their best chance of a win in this series. Their record there has been brilliant, and England’s the exact opposite. Moving up country now to Trent Bridge where the ball should swing more, the home team will really feel more at ‘home’, something that gives them the obvious extra edge.
It’s an extra edge as the Proteas are behind in the series already, and will have to try and force the pace at some stage to try and get back into things. English conditions aren’t necessarily conducive to such things, so England will certainly make the most of this as they look to establish control.
Some out of the ordinary analysis
The above elements cover a certain amount of what to expect in the upcoming test match. For more in depth analysis of what is going on during play, I’m going to be utilizing the Investec Test Tracker.
If you are a fan of stats and innovative analysis from all areas of play, this handy device provides unconventional perspectives giving greater insights on what happens between the two teams out in the middle.
Click here to access the Investec Test Tracker.
Tags: investec cricket, eng vs sa cricket, test cricket, joe root, faf du plessis, trent bridge