South Africa vs England – 1st Test Match Preview & Prediction

THE FACTS

When is South Africa vs England taking place? Thursday, December 26th (8:00am UK time)

Where is South Africa vs England taking place? SuperSport Park, Centurion

What is the expected weather for South Africa vs England? 26c with sunshine and the occasional shower unlikely to affect play too much

What channel is South Africa vs England on? South Africa vs England will be televised live on Sky Sports Cricket

Where can I stream South Africa vs England? South Africa vs England will be streamed live on Sky Sports Cricket

Where can I get tickets for South Africa vs England? Ticket details for this match can be found here!

LAST MEETING
England beat South Africa by 177 runs

THE TEAM NEWS

SOUTH AFRICA

  • South Africa welcome England for a four-match Test series in poor form in this format of the game having lost their last five Test matches played against Sri Lanka and India with confidence pretty low among their players at present.
  • The Proteas have named six new faces in their squad for the first two Test matches as batsmen Pieter Malan and Rassie van der Dussen are joined by all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, wicket-keeper Rudi Second and bowlers Dane Paterson and Beuren Hendricks.
  • There is a chance that some of those will play in the opening Test as Temba Bavuma and Lungi Ngidi have been ruled out through injury, while Vernon Philander has announced he will retire from international cricket after this series.

ENGLAND

  • England are coming off a Test series defeat in New Zealand so they will be looking to bounce back as they continue to adjust to new head coach Chris Silverwood and the change in tactics in the Test format as they plan to play a much more patient game than under previous coach Trevor Bayliss.
  • Jonny Bairstow, Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood all return to the Test squad for this series though Wood is unlikely to be considered for this first Test and the selectors have some tough decisions to make as there is plenty of quality in the squad. Anderson is certain to start and has shown signs of his best in the warm-up matches.
  • Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach all missed the warm-up matches due to illness after picking up a virus on arrival in South Africa but the trio have been bowling in the nets and are expected to be available to start at Centurion.
  • Ben Stokes' father has been admitted to hospital in critical condition so there is a chance that England's star all-rounder misses out here and a late decision is likely to be made on him.

THE PREDICTION

Neither of these teams enter this Test series with any form behind them but England have been playing at a higher level than the hosts in 2019 in the Test format. South Africa are in something of a transition phase right now and while they have some experienced campaigners in their ranks still, their form is poor. England have looked good with the bat in the warm-up matches and their bowling attack is strong with the return of Anderson. If there is anything in the pitch to favour the pace bowlers, their attack can exploit that just as much as the hosts’ bowling unit, and the tourists’ batting line-up just gets the edge to outperform South Africa’s and get an opening win at Centurion.

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