England vs South Africa 2nd Test Preview | Proteas Tour to England 2012 | Investec Test Series 2012 | Basil D’Oliveira Trophy
England has to play with South Africa in the second test of the three match series at Leeds on 2nd August 2012, needing a result to keep the series intact after losing the first test at the Oval last week. In fact to say that England lost is slightly hiding the truth, South Africa absolutely annihilated their rivals, wrapping up victory by an innings. A year-long English grip at the no.1 ranked status hangs by a thread as they embark on stopping a rampant South African contingent at their favoured home in the winner takes all second Investec Test, played at Headingley, Leeds, tomorrow, August 2, 2012. South Africa, who are ranked No.3 in the world made England’s No.1 ranking look ridiculous, and a series whitewash would see the Proteas leapfrog England to top spot in the world. England have not lost a test series at home since South Africa beat them back in 2009, but they are at serious risk of history repeating itself.
England will be desperate to put on a much better showing at Headingley this week, and they will be looking to do so with yet another new face trying to fill their troublesome number six spot. James Taylor is the latest cab off the rank as he steps in to replace Ravi Bopara, who is unavailable for personal reasons. Skipper Andrew Strauss leads the batting order with Alastair Cook and the left handed duo is probably the strongest opening combination in test cricket. The resilient opening pair will look to showcase their usual class after each of them managed a duck in one of the innings of the first Test. While Strauss’ form has been patchy off late, Cook has been scoring runs for fun and notched up a deserved century in the first innings at the Oval. Swann revealed that the England players spent two hours analysing their defeat immediately after the first Test and England coach Andy Flower insisted that confidence remains high and that the team could come back strongly.
South Africa will be in bullish mood heading into this game after their near perfect performance during a first Test in which all of their major players contributed to a dominant victory. It is unsurprising that Hashim Amla is favourite to top-score after his unbeaten 311 at the Oval, but he can be vulnerable early on so I will instead back the immovable Jacques Kallis. When it comes to their bowling it would be careless to look beyond the world’s best bowler Dale Steyn given his devastating second innings spell last week. The formidable pace attack of the Proteas will again have the Englishmen on the backfoot with Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander sure to exploit the varying Headingly pitch. Steyn, who scripted the English downfall with 5 wickets in the second innings will again look to destroy the English top order along with Morkel. Philander is the bowler most likely to benefit from the move to Headingley, and will be deadly dangerous. Imran Tahir will look to extract wickets in between through his leg-break and will also provide rest for the seamers.
AJ Strauss*, JM Anderson, IR Bell, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, AN Cook, ST Finn, G Onions, KP Pietersen, MJ Prior†, GP Swann, JWA Taylor, IJL Trott
South Africa Squad:
GC Smith*, AB de Villiers, HM Amla, JP Duminy, F du Plessis, Imran Tahir, JH Kallis, JA Morkel, M Morkel, AN Petersen, RJ Peterson, VD Philander, JA Rudolph, DW Steyn, TL Tsolekile†, LL Tsotsobe
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