England’s Test series with South Africa begins at Lord’s on Thursday as Joe Root aims to kickstart his reign as captain with a victory.
The 26-year-old assumes his role as the skipper of the Three Lions for the first time at the home of cricket and he will be determined to ensure that his opening match in charge is a winning effort.
Root assumes the duties from Alastair Cook after he relinquished the captaincy following England’s defeat at the hands of India over the winter.
He remains part of the squad and will continue to open the innings, but the control of the team now belongs in the hands of the Yorkshireman, who has already stamped his authority on the side.
County team-mate Gary Ballance has been brought back into the fold after previously being dropped twice for his inconsistent form at Test level.
He edged out Mark Stoneman for a place in the team, while Liam Dawson was also a wildcard selection to put pressure on spinner Moeen Ali.
South Africa have endured a miserable tour of England thus far, losing both the ODI and T20 series, while they crashed out of the Champions Trophy at the group stage.
Captain Faf du Plessis will miss the opener for family reasons, leaving Dean Elgar in charge of the side, with the pressure of trying to reverse the momentum of the tour.
The Proteas have a good record at Lord’s and will be aiming to put Root’s men on the back foot from the off to attempt to leave the tour on a high note.
England’s Top Batsman
Expectations will be on high on Root as he makes his bow as captain at the most famous cricket ground in the world. He has watched Steve Smith and Kane Williamson thrive after taking on the captaincy of their respective countries and will be desperate to match their high level of play.
Form could be an issue for the 26-year-old as he has not played a great deal of first-class cricket this season. His recent return to Yorkshire for the round of day/night County Championship matches was cut short due to rain, although he was unbeaten on 12 at the time play was suspended.
As a result, he could be vulnerable despite dropping down the order one spot to number four. Therefore backing Cook to lead the way with the bat in the opener could be the way to go, with odds of 4.25Bet €100 to win €42513/4Bet £100 to win £425+325Bet $100 to win $4253.25Bet HK$100 to win HK$4253.25Bet Rp100 to win Rp425-0.3077Bet RM100 to win RM425 with UniBet due to his outstanding form this season against the red ball for Essex.
The 32-year-old comes into the first Test match of the summer fresh of an innings of 193 in a record-breaking stand with opening partner Nick Browne. He has scored three centuries in seven matches for his county, boasting an average of 66.70 this term.
Although Cook remained consistent with the bat throughout his captaincy – the strain appeared to be taking a toll in India. Whereas he was dominant in England’s victory on the sub-continent in 2012, the opener failed to operate at his peak during the winter.
With the pressure of the leadership lifted off his shoulder, Cook should be able to deliver his best form at Lord’s, and the Three Lions will need him to perform well.
South Africa’s Top Batsman
The Proteas head into the series without AB de Villiers or skipper Du Plessis, which leaves their batting line-up desperately short on experience.
Batting was not South Africa’s strong point in their series win over New Zealand earlier this year, and they will be eyeing an improvement against the Three Lions having failed to pass 400 in their three matches.
Amla will be crucial at the number three position given the high-profile absentees. He has not been in great form in Test matches of late, but did score 91 against the England Lions to signal he is ready for the challenges ahead.
The 34-year-old played well against England on home soil when the sides met over a year ago, although this time around Root and company will be determined not to have a huge impact on the series and will be making the veteran their prized scalp.
Elgar takes the captaincy for only the opener at Lord’s as Du Plessis is expected to return for the remainder of the series. However, he will be eager to display his credentials in the role as well as a batsman at the top of the innings.
The 30-year-old was not part of the ODI and T20 squads, instead playing for Somerset in the County Championship. Elgar has been in brilliant form in the county game, notching two hundreds and two half-centuries in his 12 innings at an average of 47.
The opener has the perfect at the home of cricket to stamp his authority on the captaincy and his place in the side, with odds of 5.50Bet €100 to win €5509/2Bet £100 to win £550+450Bet $100 to win $5504.50Bet HK$100 to win HK$5504.50Bet Rp100 to win Rp550-0.2222Bet RM100 to win RM550 with BetVictor to top score for the Proteas in the opener.
England have not been comfortable at Lord’s in recent times, especially not against South Africa. The Three Lions’ last victory over the Proteas at the home of cricket came back in 1960.
On their last tour in 2012, Graeme Smith led his side to a 51-run triumph, with Amla and Vernon Philander playing a vital role in the victory.
In the modern era, the Proteas have been dominant at the ground, winning four out of their last five matches since their return to the game in the 1990s.
Therefore, Root and England face a huge challenge to improve their dismal record at the ground against the Proteas. Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Philander have the ability to run through the Three Lions’ batting line-up, which has been vulnerable on occasions.
However, South Africa’s unit could be just as vulnerable given the inexperience of their side and the quality of England’s bowlers.
Due to the fact Root will be determined to start on the front foot and the Proteas have struggled for form this far on their tour, backing England to win at Lord’s at 1.95Bet €100 to win €19519/20Bet £100 to win £195-105Bet $100 to win $1950.95Bet HK$100 to win HK$195-1.05Bet Rp100 to win Rp1950.9500Bet RM100 to win RM195 with Marathon Bet is the option to take.
Alastair Cook To Be England’s Top Batsman
Thursday July 6th – July 10th 2017
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Dean Elgar To Be South Africa’s Top Batsman
Thursday July 6th – July 10th 2017
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England To Beat South Africa
Thursday July 6th – July 10th 2017
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- alastair cook
- Joe Root
- south africa