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England v South Africa 2nd Test Preview - Who Will Shine At Trent Bridge?

England v South Africa 2nd Test Preview - Who Will Shine At Trent Bridge?
Thursday,July 13,2017

England v South Africa, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, July 14-18


It couldn’t have been a better start for Joe Root in his first match as England captain, both from a personal and team point of view. The new England skipper struck a majestic 190 in the first innings to rescue his side from a precarious position of 76-4, to post 458 and ultimately, with a little help from Moeen Ali, record a 211 run demolition of South Africa. It wasn’t quite the perfect performance however, with the top order still showing signs of vulnerability, and yet another batting collapse in the second innings as they went from 139-1 to 233 all out.


But South Africa have numerous headaches going into the second Test, not least the suspension of Kagiso Rabada. The young star paceman was given a one match suspension for his send off after dismissing Ben Stokes in the first innings, which was his second altercation with an opposition player this year. While the return of captain Faf de Plessis will come as a boost, a fragile batting line-up and depleted pace attack makes South Africa fairly long outsiders to level the series, with the majority of bookies putting them at 4s and 5s.


Will England prosper at their favourite stomping ground?


It’s safe to say England love playing at Trent Bridge. They’ve won six of their last seven Tests in Nottingham, with their last defeat coming a decade ago against India. Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson have destroyed all before them in recent years, including in the last Test at Trent Bridge in the 2015 Ashes, where Broad put in the performance of his life to take 8-15 as the Aussies folded for 60. Both Anderson and Broad love it at the Bridge, especially with the new ball, both averaging less than 20, exploiting early swinging conditions which could prove too much for the South Africans.


With Moeen Ali fresh off his 10 wicket haul and more than capable of holding up an end to create pressure, England also have the dangerous Mark Wood and Ben Stokes to chip in, giving the visitors no let up against an attack lethal in such conditions.


There’s always a danger that ideal bowling conditions could backfire, especially when the batting line-up still has some way to go. Although Alastair Cook, Ali, Root and Jonny Bairstow all looked decent with the bat, the inexperienced Keaton Jennings and Gary Ballance in the top three make it a brittle top order. But with the strong bowling attack and enough quality in the batting ranks to offer support, it’s hard to see past England making it 2-0, and virtually wrapping up the series with two Tests to play.


Depleted South Africa on the ropes


Already without the likes of leading fast man Dale Steyn through injury, and the continued absence of batting star AB de Villiers, who is on the verge of retirement from the longest form, Rabada’s suspension has come at the worst time for the tourists. While Morne Morkel still looked dangerous with the new ball and Vernon Philander has the ability to blow teams away, the advancing years of the two along with fitness and injury concerns as evident at Lord’s, means they need plenty more support.


That wasn’t the case in the first Test with just four bowlers and the part-time spin of JP Duminy to choose from, so perhaps going in with an extra bowler is likely. This would further weaken an already brittle batting line-up, which consisted of Theunis de Bruyn and Heino Kuhn, who have just three Test caps between them. One of those two will make way for du Plessis, while Duminy could also be dropped after yet another underwhelming display in Test cricket, in which he averages less than 33 from 46 Tests - simply not good enough at this level.


Allrounder Chris Morris could come into the team at number seven, and would be a useful addition with both bat and ball to add able support to the senior seamers. Another option is Duanne Olivier who was the leading wicket taker in the South African domestic first-class competition last season, and the seamer looked impressive in his only Test against Sri Lanka in January.


Whatever combination they choose, their bowlers should be a handful in these conditions but their batting could well struggle once more, to leave them a mountain to climb to salvage anything from the series.


£100 up for grabs in our Fantasy Pick 5


Just like the first Test, we’re running a Fantasy Pick 5, which has £100 guaranteed if you play for £2. Simply choose five players from different categories - a Top Order batsmen & a Batsmen, an All Rounder, WicketKeeper & Bowler - to make up your team and if they scoop you the most points, you’ll win the biggest share of the prize pot. You must choose at least one player per team and again, your banker - or captain - will score you double points so pick wisely.

Root and Ali were standout performers in our first Test Pick 5, with Ali top scoring with 314 points. Bairstow also scored more than 100, so too did South Africa's Quinton de Kock, Rabada, Philander and Morkel  


Looking at the Top Order Batsmen, Cook and Hashim Amla stand out from this category, with the ex-England skipper Cook in fine form this year and has plenty of experience in Trent Bridge conditions. As your Batsmen, once more it’s hard to look past Root after his 190, and has shown already that captaincy will bring out his gritty, determined side that makes him so difficult to dismiss early in his innings.


Stokes and Ali look like good options as All Rounder, although Stokes may just be the better choice in these conditions. Bowlers is the toughest category to choose from in this match, especially if conditions are seam friendly as expected. Broad and Anderson both have terrific records in Nottingham so can’t be overlooked, while if fully fit, Philander is lethal with the new ball, and has been making vital lower order contributions with the bat, including a 50 in the first innings at Lord’s


We’ll also be running Classic pools for days two, three, four and five based on what is most likely to occur on each given day. Questions will include which batsmen and which bowler will make the most runs and take the most wickets on the day, as well as how many wickets will fall and runs be scored on each day.


Enjoy the second Test in style by giving yourself a chance to win some big cash in our pools.


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