Eng vs SA 2nd Test – Preview

2 08 2012

A dominant performance coupled with England’s tendency to bomb out at Headingley has seated SA in the pre-match opinion driving seat. If South Africa underestimate their esteemed opponents, however, it could result in a quick jolt back to earth.

South Africa crushed a frail and seemingly unmotivated England side in the first Test. My worries as a South African ahead of the first  test are yet to be vanquished, however. de Villiers was not heavily dumped with batting responsibility and his ability to juggle the two different types of gloves is yet to be determined. de Villiers is a vital cog in the SA batting line up and a weakened SA will not fair well against an England attack expected to bounce back with determination and the raw aggression of Finn.

My second worry is a bowling attack overreliant on Steyn and Philander. Despite claiming 4 wickets in the first Innings, Morne Morkel didn’t implement the fearsome bowling of which we know he’s capable. Tahir is still hit-and-miss, and Jacques Kallis can’t be expected to bowl heaps of overs at this stage of his career. If Steyn has an off-day, we suffer; this was evident on day 1. Morkel needs to step up to the plate and command fear from the English batsmen.

On the English side, Bopara has been culled with Lions captain James Taylor his replacement. He seems a fair choice what with his reliability – a trait England desperately need in their middle order alongside that of Matt Prior. Finn is expected to replace either Bresnan or Broad, and the affect this will have will be intriguing to gauge.

All in all, a wounded world no 1 Test team is never a nice prospect. England will be fighting against the odds given their lack of form heading into the match and their record at Headingley, but it will be a great test of their character. SA will be looking to develop a killer instinct needed if they hope to gain and maintain a world no 1 ranking. A more intriguing match will be hard to find.

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