By CricketCountry Staff
London: Jul 19, 2012
A determined South Africa side is set to take on England and topple them from the top spot in the ICC Test rankings, as the first Test between the two prominent sides begin on Thursday at the Kennington Oval in London.
South Africa need to win the upcoming three-match series, to replace England at the summit of the International Cricket Council's standings.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said on the eve of the opening Test that his side's strong away record made them genuine contenders.
"We've been really consistent. Maybe we haven't got some of the victories we would have liked but away from home our record speaks for itself. In all conditions I think it's fair to say that we've been the most consistent team over a period of time,” Smith said.
On the other hand, England captain Andrew Strauss said the Proteas side will pose tremendous challenge against them.
"South Africa are a very fine side. They've proved that over the last couple of years and they'll be determined to knock us off our perch.
"It will be a good gauge for us. The rankings say we are number one and we have to go out and prove it."
"We're looking forward to getting hold of that ranking and performing well. This Test series offers us an opportunity."
England: Andrew Strauss (c), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Matt Prior (wk), James Anderson, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (c), Alviro Petersen, Jacques Rudolph, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn.