Boxing Day Test, SA vs England: Preview, Dream11 and more
South Africa and England will liven their rivalry in the opening first Test of the four-match series, starting December 26. The Proteas begin a new era under coach Mark Boucher and they will be eyeing maiden points in the ICC World Test Championship. Wounded England will be out to stop the hosts. Here's the complete match preview.
An enticing set of cricket on offer here
England prepare for a tough Test series against the Proteas with 120 ICC World Test Championship points on offer. England collected 56 points from the Ashes 2019 against Australia after a 2-2 draw in the five-match series. Meanwhile, South Africa are yet to open their account after suffering a 3-0 loss against India in October. Starting on a positive note is crucial here.
SA begin journey under a new coaching set-up
South Africa have plenty to look forward to. They have a new coaching set-up, with Boucher in charge, and the likes of Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt and Paul Harris in consulting roles. Former captain Graeme Smith is the new CSA acting director of cricket. SA could not have asked for a fresher start and one expects to see a positive brand of cricket.
England have many concerns plaguing them
England have plenty to chew upon after a virus hit the camp. Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer have recovered and are likely to play, however, Chris Woakes could miss out. Spinner Jack Leach, who was struck by gastro on the tour of New Zealand, has also been ill in SA. Ben Stokes' father was admitted to a hospital, and the all-rounder is a doubt.
Views from the captains ahead of the first Test
England's Joe Root claimed, "I have never encountered a South African team that does not play with pride and passion. And I expect nothing different at Centurion. They are good in their own conditions." "We are at an infant stage as a Test team, and the plan is to get back to number one, but that will take some time," said Faf du Plessis.
Conditions, pitch report, timing and TV listing
One expects to see the conditions being hot in Centurion on the first two days. There could be some rain on Friday bringing a slight drop in temperatures later on. The pitch will assist pacers at large and that could see England field an all-pace attack. The match will start at 1:30 PM IST and will be telecast live on the Sony Ten Network.
Dream11: Faf and Root get the leadership nods
Dream11 prediction: Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock (WK), Joe Root (vc), Faf du Plessis (C), Jos Buttler, Joe Denly, Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, James Anderson and Jofra Archer.