South Africa and England will battle it out in the opening game of the four-match Test series at Centurion.This will be the 5th game that will take place between England and South Africa. Both teams have won one each while three games have ended in a draw.
The focus in the game will be on two superstars –South Africa’s premier batsman Faf du Plessis and bankable middle-order Quinton De Kock to deliver the runs in this game. Wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock has been excellent for South Africa in Test cricket so far this season. He has scored more close to 600 runs this season and will be looking to deliver a notable score in this Boxing Day Test.
The big concern going into this series will be lack of form of the opening pair of Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar. While Markram will be relieved to be playing on quicker pitches in South Africa, Elgar has struggled to produce big scores at the top of the innings. Despite herculean 160 runs against India, Elgar has accumulated 329 runs so far in 7 matches at an average of 27.41.
On the other hand, Pacer Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test so Dane Paterson or Beuran Hendricks will fight for a place in the playing XI.
Host South Africa face England in opening game of Basil D’Oliviera trophy at SuperSport Park in Centurion from Thursday.
The player who will be in focus during the game is will be Kagiso Rabada, who will be looking to make an impact for the side with the new-ball at Centurion. The premier bowler has clearly struggled to deliver his best so far this season.
As far as the team news is concerned, South Africa will go in with four pacers – Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Dane Paterson/Anrich Nortje, and Dwaine Pretorius. The home side will field one spinner in Keshav Maharaj, who has been a bankable performer for the side in Test cricket. Pacer Beuran Hendricks, who was selected in the squad, is unlikely to start for the visitors.
The pitch will certainly lateral movement for the quick bowlers. The batsmen will need to work hard for their runs on this wicket. The rain will play a huge part in the outcome of this game.