The South African conditions are not completely alien to the English players as they play in similar sort of conditions back home. That’s the reason why England’s record in Test matches in South Africa has been far better in comparison to the records of the other teams. The Poms have lost only 19 out of the 81 Test matches they have played in South Africa so far.
England have been hot and cold in Test cricket in recent times. They were brilliant in certain stages of the Ashes series but were not consistent throughout which was the reason why they failed to regain the urn from Australia despite playing at home. Then they went to New Zealand and were competitive again, but couldn’t sustain the pressure on the opposition for long enough and eventually lost the series 1-0.
But, they certainly have got the quality in their squad to trouble their opponents, particularly in conditions which suit their game. The fact that James Anderson is fit again is only going to strengthen their bowling attack. South Africa, on the other hand, have gone through sweeping changes at the top. There is a new director of cricket and new management in place. It would have certainly injected some positivity into the group which has had a really tough time in red-ball cricket this year.
Here is all you need to know about the first Test match between South Africa and England -
Date: December 26-30, 2019
Time: 1:30 PM (IST)
Venue: SuperSport Park, Centurion
Centurion will be windy and there are chances of rain on the second day. The humidity will be round about 45% and the precipitation will be 80%. The temperature won’t be too bad for cricket. If a large chunk of the game doesn’t get rained off, it should be a cracking Test match.
The SuperSport Park pitch hasn’t been as quick as Cape Town or Wanderers in recent years. It’s comparatively slower and helps the spinners if anything. However, considering the quality of the seam attack of the two teams, the seamers on the show should still be able to extract menace out of the surface. This pitch is generally good for batting if the batsman sees off the initial period of his innings.
South Africa have struggled in Test cricket of late and they are a little unsure about their best XI at the moment. They are a competitive team in home conditions, but given the vulnerability in their batting, the Proteas might have a tough time against the visitors in this game. The prediction is for England to beat South Africa and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
South Africa predicted XI
Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (WK), Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
England predicted XI:
Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Live broadcast and streaming
The 1st Test match between South Africa and England will be televised in India on Sony Six and Sony Six HD. The live streaming of the match will be available on SonyLiv.