Preview: England-South Africa 1st TestJuly 23, 2012
After completing the NatWest series in 4-0 score line against world’s leading team, Australia, England is in full swing to prevail over the next series against South Africa. The series will start with a 5-day test match which will be followed by two more test matches, five one day international matches and three T20 matches. The first test match will start on July 19, 2012 and will continue till July 23 and it will be held at Kennington Oval, London.
Being at the home soil, England is enjoying the advantages of home ground but this time, they are against the Proteas who are aiming to lead this series to become the world’s top ranked test cricket team. The team is at present in a depressed condition as their veteran Mark Boucher was severely injured when the bail of the wicket stuck in his eyes while he was behind the wicket. This accident ended his international career as he suddenly declared his retirement after the injury. This took a heavy toll on the team spirit. They will surely miss their veteran wicket keeper Mark Boucher who has been one of the biggest strengths of the team so far.
While on one hand, Boucher’s sudden declaration regarding retirement left the team in no man’s land, on the other side, there is a doubt about the presence of Alviro Petersen whose foot injury may set him out of the team in the first test match. He is one of the most dependable opening partners in the team whose absence will create another disruption in the team. In the midst of such serious injury worries, pacer Marchant de Lange is not in his form.
Entire England is almost ready to celebrate the victory of the next series after NatWest because it is readable from their body language that they are underrating the Proteas. However, there is a high probability for a win in English squad unless the South African Captain Graeme Smith and his team play fabulously to get a victory in this opening test.
The ambiance in South African green room may be subdued but they are not a depleted squad. They know that emotional sentiments is in one side and in the cricket field, they have to do their business forgetting all emotions and sentiments. They are ready to give their best to win this test because they wish to play this match for Mark Boucher.
While there are some serious injury worries in Proteas squad, England is hopeful to get back their veteran spinner, Graeme Swann in the first match who is out of the team for a long time due to elbow injury.
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