Three Lions. Four Matches. The ODI’s and T20 Internationals have been wrapped up and it’s time for the real business to begin. There is a small matter of a Test series that needs to be settled. South Africa, ranked number 2 in the world, will take on England’s Three Lions in the first of four test matches starting tomorrow at Lord’s.
England vs South Africa fixtures
1st Test: July 6th – July 10th 2017 @ Lords
2nd Test: July 14th – July 18th 2017 @ Trent Bridge
3rd Test: July 27th – July 31st 2017 @ The Oval
4th Test: August 4th – August 8th 2017 @ Old Trafford
South Africa have not lost a series on UK soil in nearly 20 years and in the five series since re-admission into international cricket they have not lost a single test match at Lord’s – the venue for this series opening encounter. From Graeme Smith’s incredible double ton (259) which remains the highest score by a foreign player at Lord’s to Makhaya Ntini’s unforgettable 10-wicket haul in the same match in the 2003 test series, Lord’s has seen some serious storyline’s down the years and looks certain to play a part once more in inspiring players to produce those memorable performances.
Keaton Jennings will line up against the country of his heritage for the first time in his fledgling career. The 25-year-old South African born batsmen and son of former coach Ray Jennings has been selected ahead of 20-year-old Haseeb Hameed who has struggled for form for his county club side Lancashire this season. Jennings scored a remarkable century (112) in his very first innings against India on debut before being trapped in front LBW for a first-ball duck in his second. He will earn just his third cap on Thursday at the ‘Home of Cricket’.
Gary Ballance has been recalled to the Test side after averaging more than 100 for Yorkshire in the County Championship this year in one of a number of surprise additions to the squad. Spinner Liam Dawson has been named ahead of the more experienced Adil Rashid in what is captain Joe Root’s selection ahead of his first series in charge as skipper.
South Africa welcome back lead bowler Kagiso Rabada after he was allowed to return home after the ICC Champions Trophy to rest ahead of the Test series. He did not feature in the recent T20 series defeat in England. Dean Elgar meanwhile will take over the captaincy for the first test in London. Faf du Plessis has been granted extended leave and has not returned to the UK yet following the birth of his child in South Africa.
Heino Kuhn has been thrust right into the firing line and is poised to make his test debut at the top of the order alongside the veteran that is Hashim Amla while Theunis de Bruyn will be playing in just his second test match for what looks a seriously inexperienced South African team.