England and South Africa will play the first of a three-match One Day International (ODI) series when they meet in Headingley, Leeds, on Wednesday afternoon.
The series is being used by both teams as preparation for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held from 1 to 18 June in England and Wales. The Proteas have won both of their warm-up matches heading into this first ODI, defeating Sussex by 66 runs last Friday and Northamptonshire by 13 runs on Sunday. The likes of Quinton de Kock, Wayne Parnell, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and David Miller have had good workouts with the bat, while Chris Morris, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir have impressed with the ball.
The tourists will hope captain and key batsman AB de Villiers recovers from a bout of the ‘flu to feature in the ODI series, having missed both warm-up matches. With the Champions Trophy just over a week away, the Proteas team management will not risk de Villiers unless they are certain he is fit and firing.
England will pose a tough challenge for South Africa, with Eoin Morgan’s side putting behind them the disaster of the 2015 ICC World Cup to become one of the favorites for the Champions Trophy. Most of their strength lies in the power-hitting of their top order, with the likes of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Morgan himself all capable of match-winning knocks.
South Africa have a good overall record against England in ODIs (28 wins compared to 24 losses), but not so much when playing away: 22 matches in England have brought 13 losses and just 7 wins for the team in green and gold. And they have lost all three of their previous ODI matches in Headingley, including the famous 1999 World Cup Super Sixes match in which Steve Waugh scored an unbeaten century to see Australia chase down 271.
England v South Africa - Overall ODI Head-to-head
Matches played 56
England wins 24
South Africa wins 28
No results 3
England v South Africa - ODI Head-to-head in England
Matches played 22
England wins 13
South Africa wins 7
No results 2
South Africa ODI record at Headingley, all opponents
Matches played 3
No results 0