First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

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First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:56 pm

Test cricket returns to planet Earth in two weeks time. And starting in the English high summer, just like it used to in the old days before cricket was played in high def and on spider-cam, and before the ECB had the idea of providing content by playing unattractive opposition at remote northern grounds in the grey rain of May. Back in the sultry, hazy days when a maximum was called a six. Believe in better.

Over this hot early summer, my cultural barometer tells me the profile of the game of cricket in the UK has slipped even further. But the anticipation of the first Test still holds, especially played at Lord's, for my generation at least. And if the appeal of sport is partly a habit, it will have been two months since Pakistan beat West Indies at Dominica. And a long seven months since Chennai, where England acquiesced to another Innings defeat on their discouraging tour of India.

It is one of the grand old stats of English underachievement that South Africa haven't lost a series in this country since Javed Akhtar led England to victory in the deciding Test at the Oval in 1998. And before that, it's 1960. Fred Trueman played in that one. In terms of incident rather than hype or reputation, this is one of the more eventful contests in sport, which can call on the D'Oliveira Affair, the dirt in the pocket controversy and the leather jacket Test to authenticate the claim. But this time, if the legendary provocateur of South African cricket, former captain Graeme Smith, is going to claim the scalp of another England captain, he will have to scheme it from the press box.

England have a new leader in the impressive and thoughtful, but publicly impassive Joe Root. If South Africa travel with few veterans of former Test campaigns in the UK, their flag will be waved by the crafty Faf du Plessis. Maybe no Graeme Smith, but traditional mind games cannot be absolutely ruled out. But one disquiet is existential in their cricket: South Africa sides will always seem troubled in selection while the tides of the country's past and future seem to meet about six or seven choices into their first XI.

In the limited overs cricket they have played so far on the tour, South Africa have given the impression of a tired side on the cusp of a decline. But in Tests they are ranked second (to England's fourth). Trends are hard to establish with the Proteas because they play so few Tests, but last winter they beat an admittedly disorganised Australia, in Australia. Which is a hell of an achievement, almost always. They beat New Zealand home and away and whitewashed Sri Lanka. Which, in the five day game suggests a resurgence after a poor time a year before.

And that earlier slump bottomed out with a 2-1 defeat to their current hosts, which is the highpoint of England's recent form which has fluctuated between that most unexpected triumph, coupled with a commanding Ashes win, but balanced by underachieving in the West Indies and at home to Pakistan- as well as that 4-0 loss in India. Both sides will be suffering from key absences and injuries. It is an uncertain and unpredictable series. We will either have a very close contest, or if it is a rout, we will instead learn something new and unexpected about both of the sides.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby mikesiva » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:34 pm

Squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada

In: Heino Kuhn, Aiden Markram, Andile Phehlukwayo

Out: Stephen Cook, Wayne Parnell, Dane Piedt, Heinrich Klaasen

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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:45 am

Amla, JPD, MM and Big Vern have toured before (in Tests). First visit for the others, including the captain.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby bigfluffylemon » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:34 am

Good preview, AC.

Interesting how few of the Proteas have toured before, and how inexperienced the side overall is. No Stephen Cook surprises me, but the batting as a whole looks fragile - aside from the run machine that is Amla (and how he loves batting in England), the other members of the batting line-up are inexperienced, inconsistent or both. Of course, England's batting has hardly been a model of consistency in recent times.

Morkel hasn't made a huge impact in tests for a while now, and it's interesting that Maharoof seems to be preferred to Tahir. But Rabada and Philander both have the capability to blow sides away.

As such, I'm predicting something akin to the 2015 Ashes - a close series in terms of the result, but wildly seesawing results in the actual test matches, as one side's bowling attack or other gets on a roll and the other side collapses.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Aidan11 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:13 am

Has the first test in an English summer ever started this late?

Not often we get to July without a test.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:18 am

I'm thinking series in England when there have been WCs, when there were 5-6 Tests played.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby rich1uk » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:19 am

reports that both Hameed and Buttler will miss out on the squad when its named on Sunday

dont think they usually name a backup keeper for home tests do they ?
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:20 am

India toured the summer of the 1979 WC and the first Test was played on the 13th of July.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:21 am

Of course Buttler played as a batter in the last Test, but yes, not much of a surprise.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:28 am

Started on July 10 for the Ashes in the WC year of 1975. Back then the normal Test summer started at the start of June, but in the early days back in the nineteenth century, the series started in the middle of July, so this isn't that rare.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby bigfluffylemon » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:53 am

rich1uk wrote:reports that both Hameed and Buttler will miss out on the squad when its named on Sunday

dont think they usually name a backup keeper for home tests do they ?


Hard to argue. Neither have been performing in red ball cricket.

This presumably means there will be a batting slot open? If Bairstow takes the gloves, you've got Cook, Jennings, Root, ? Bairstow, Stokes, Moeen, with an obvious gap in the middle order.

Would they go back to Ballance? He's been scoring very heavily and would be the obvious choice on form, but after previous experiences it's hard to imagine England would return to him. Robson's an outside chance - had some good knocks this summer. Otherwise, there's likely to be a debut. Any guesses? Sam Northeast is a possibility, or maybe one of Essex's other in-form batsmen (Westley or Browne)? Thoughts?

As for the bowling attack, if you play Moeen at 7 there's room for 4 bowlers - Woakes is injured, and Anderson and Broad are obvious if fit, but then there are two more spots to fill. Wood looks likely, but who takes the fourth spot? Rashid? Two spinners in July doesn't seem likely. Ball? Finn? Is it too early to call up Ben Coad :D ?

Or do you drop Moeen down to 8 and play another batsman, given that you'll have Mo, Stokes and 3 quicks which should cover it. Without Woakes, a tail starting with Mo at 7, Broad at 8 looks a bit shaky.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby rich1uk » Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:03 am

you would expect it to be someone from the Lions game that starts today, so if we are looking for someone to slot in at #3 or #4 then it's probably between Westley, Ballance and Livingstone

its kinda weird that Ballance gets an undeserved recall for last winter after having a fairly mediocre year in county cricket last year and that could now count against him despite being in fantastic form this year

i still think Stoneman is in the frame for the openers spot, he wasn't considered for the Lions game because of the Royal London Cup final at the weekend
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Aidan11 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:55 pm

Ball is out of the first test.

Wonder what they're gonna use instead then. :coat
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:04 pm

Have to assume Plunkett is in the frame if in the Lions team.
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Re: First Test: England v South Africa, Lord's, July 6-10.

Postby rich1uk » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:44 pm

Aidan11 wrote:Ball is out of the first test.

Wonder what they're gonna use instead then. :coat


did the South Africans rub a zip against him ?
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