Root will aim to continue his excellent form

England To Triumph Over SA At Trent Bridge

England began Joe Root’s era as captain with a fine performance to defeat South Africa in their series opener at Lord’s.

The Three Lions ended a disastrous run of form against the Proteas at the home of cricket, securing their first win over them at the ground since 1960.

Root made the perfect start to his captaincy with a brilliant innings of 190, guiding his side to 458 in their first innings, although he did benefit from a shade of luck having been dropped on five and 16.

Dean Elgar’s men were not able to mount a sufficient response in their reply due to the off-spin of Moeen Ali taking four wickets, leading to a deficit of 97 when England took to the crease again.

In worsening conditions at the crease, former skipper Alastair Cook battled well for a knock of 69, while Jonny Bairstow also notched a half-century to edge the Proteas’ target above the 300-run mark.

Ali haunted South Africa again in the second innings, ripping through the top order on his way to a 10-wicket haul in the contest, allowing England to claim victory by 211 runs after dismissing Elgar’s side of just 119.

The Proteas were hit by a blow during the game that Kagiso Rabada earned a suspension for the second match of the series following a verbal send off to Ben Stokes, while Vernon Philander is battling a hand injury after being struck by the ball while batting.

Captain Faf du Plessis will return at Trent Bridge after missing the opener to attend the birth of his first child. His presence will be a welcome sight for Elgar to hand back over the duties.

England have named an unchanged side, keeping faith with Keaton Jennings and Gary Ballance at the top of the innings, despite their failings at Lord’s.

England’s Top Batsman

Root will aim to continue his excellent form

Root highlighted his quality at the crease with an outstanding knock, falling just short of a third Test double hundred. The 26-year-old produced the highest innings of an England captain on debut, beating out Cook’s mark of 173 made against Bangladesh in 2010.

The circumstances of the innings are made even more impressive as he arrived in the middle with the Three Lions under extreme pressure. However, Root guided his side out of trouble to amass a match-winning total, making the Proteas pay for their missed chances.

The 26-year-old is now faced with the task of building on his brilliant performance at Trent Bridge. Root has a fine record at the ground, averaging over 100 after making two centuries in just three Test match appearances in Nottingham.

He will be aided by the fact that Rabada will not be available, who troubled him at times early in his innings at Lord’s. Morne Morkel bowled well at times, but was forced to bowl plenty of overs due to Philander’s injury problems – should they be far from their best Root will be able to capitalise.

Backing the England captain at odds of +275   with Betfair to lead the way with the bat once again for his side at Trent Bridge would be the right choice.

The match will be an important contest for Ballance as he did very little to dispel doubts over his pedigree at Test level. He made 20 in the first innings and although he a decent 33 in the second – he will need a score to cement his place in the side.

He made his highest Test score at Trent Bridge in 2014 against India and a similar innings would ease the pressure on the Yorkshireman as well as the selectors.

South Africa’s Top Batsman

Du Plessis will have watched his side’s collapse on the final day with concern. Ali has been a solid operator for England with his off-spin, but the ease in which he tore through the South Africa line-up will have worried their skipper along with the coaching staff for the rest of the series.

JP Duminy seemed perplexed by the turn and made only 17 runs in his two innings, putting his place in the side under severe jeopardy. Du Plessis could take his place in the side batting at number four and he will be determined to make an immediate impact to get the Proteas back on track.

The 32-year-old has a strong record at Test level, boasting an average in the mid-40s and six hundreds in his 40 matches. He has been in decent form over the last year, making steady knocks against New Zealand without kicking on to notch huge scores.

He has experience in English conditions and against the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Therefore backing him to top score in the contest for the Proteas at +400   with Coral is the option to take for the second match of the series.

Quinton de Kock made a decent knock in the first innings of the match, scoring 51 coming in at number seven in the order. He arguably should have been placed higher in the line-up to make more of an impact rather than batting with the tail.

The 24-year-old was unfortunate with his dismissal in the second innings as he smacked the ball off his legs and into his stumps. Expect a strong response from De Kock at Trent Bridge to get firing once again.

England’s Top Bowler

Broad was outstanding at Trent Bridge in 2015

Credit: Getty Images

Root was able to rotate his bowlers and allow Anderson, Broad and Mark Wood ease their way back to fitness. All three had been short of red ball cricket heading into the contest and would have benefitted hugely getting overs under their belts.

Broad and Anderson were their consistent selves out in the middle, although they played second fiddle to Ali in the match. Wood had his moments and notched his wicket in the second innings, removing Duminy, but Root will want to see more from the paceman.

England’s two senior bowlers have enjoyed great days at Trent Bridge in the past. Anderson averages 19.24 at the ground and his best Test match figures of 7-43 against New Zealand in 2008.

On Broad’s last appearance on his home ground he tore through the Australian batting line-up, claiming astounding figures of 8-15 to secure the Ashes. He averages 18.58 at the venue and will be eyeing another strong performance against the Proteas.

Ben Stokes claimed six wickets in the same match in the second innings, making it an extremely popular hunting ground for England’s seamers.

Expect Ali and Liam Dawson to take a backseat in this game, with Broad rising to the occasion and leading the way for his team at odds of +400   with Betfair.

Winner

South Africa have to bounce back in the match to keep the series alive otherwise their tour could fold very quickly. They did have England on the ropes in the first session, but were unable to capitalise on the chances they made – therefore it’s imperative they are clinical in Nottingham.

Unfortunately for the Proteas, England have a strong record at Trent Bridge. The Three Lions have not lost a Test match at the venue since 2007 and have won six out of their last seven matches, including their triumph over Australia last time out two years ago.

Root’s men have the momentum and should be able to secure their second win on the bounce to take an overwhelming lead in the series. As a result, back the England win at -159   with Marathon Bet to triumph in Nottingham.

Tips Summary

Joe Root To Be England’s Top Batsman
Friday July 14th – Tuesday July 18th 2017
Odds: +275

Faf Du Plessis To Be South Africa’s Top Batsman
Friday July 14th – Tuesday July 18th 2017
Odds: +400

Stuart Broad To Be England’s Top Bowler
Friday July 14th – Tuesday July 18th 2017
Odds: +400

England To Beat South Africa
Friday July 14th – Tuesday July 18th 2017
Odds: -159

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