Home > News >

Preview: South Africa aim to topple England from top spot amidst Pietersen row

Preview: South Africa aim to topple England from top spot amidst Pietersen row

South Africa captain Graeme Smith during a training session at Lord’s, ahead of the final Test © Getty Images

London: Aug 15, 2012

 

Rarely has all the talk in the build-up to a Test been dominated by a man who will not be playing in the match.

 

Yet England’s dramatic decision to drop Kevin Pietersen from the third Test at Lord’s starting Thursday, allegedly over text messages he sent to South African players during the drawn second Test at Headingley, has inevitably put the focus on their absent star batsman.

 

The South Africa-born shotmaker averages nearly 50 in Tests and made a superb 149 at Headingley, where he drove South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn back over his head for six.

 

By contrast Jonathan Bairstow, the man who will replace Pietersen, was dropped after playing his first three Tests against the West Indies earlier this season and has an average of under 13 with a top score of 18.

 

Yet England have decided there are bigger issues than the possible loss of their world number one Test ranking, which they will surrender to South Africa unless they win at Lord’s.

 

Bairstow struggled with the short ball against the West Indies a fact sure to have been noted by Steyn and fellow fast bowler Morne Morkel, even if the Yorkshireman arrives at Lord’s on the back of 139 for the England Lions against Australia A.

 

Fast-medium bowler Tim Bresnan did his best to stick up for county colleague Bairstow by suggesting England could be an improved side without Pietersen.

 

“It may be an even better side, it’s one of those things where a talented player is being replaced by another talented player,” Bresnan said. “So why should we miss a certain individual because he’s unavailable for selection?”

 

But even those closest to Bairstow might struggle to believe that — at least for the time being.

 

There were reports late Tuesday that Pietersen and the England hierarchy were close to resolving their differences ahead of Saturday’s squad announcement for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka next month but any ‘peace deal’ will come too late for the third Test.

 

“I’ve always got on with Kevin,” said England captain Andrew Strauss. “That’s why this has all been a bit of a surprise to me.

 

“It’s about mutual respect and trust, and that is a core issue that is central to resolving this.”

 

Meanwhile South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis said England would be a weaker side without Pietersen.

 

“He’s a world-class player … England losing him is a big loss for them. Any time he’s not in your side it does make a big difference.”

 

However, Kallis added: “Cricket’s not a one-man sport. There are 11 guys who can take a Test match away from us.”

 

The match will see Strauss make his 100th Test appearance and lead his country in Tests for the 50th time.

 

Strauss who eight years ago marked his debut with a century against New Zealand at Lord’s, his Middlesex home ground, would dearly love to match the achievement of Proteas skipper Graeme Smith, who marked his 100th Test with a century at the Oval to help put the tourists  1-0 up.

 

This match is also set to witness Smith, like Strauss a left-handed opener, break Australia great Allan Border’s record of 93 Tests as a captain.

 

The 31-year-old Smith has been captain in all but eight of his Tests and likes Lord’s almost as much as Strauss, having made a superb 259 at ‘the home of cricket’ in 2003.

 

Smith’s two previous tours of England have featured the resignation of the then England captain (Nasser Hussain in 2003 and Michael Vaughan in 2008) and Strauss could go the same way if England lose at Lord’s.

 

England are set to recall off-spinner Graeme Swann after opting for an all-seam attack at Headingley.

 

Lord’s officials have said the outfield will resemble a “patchwork quilt” after the ground hosted the Olympic archery tournament, but have insisted it will be fit for play.

 

But while the archers may have left, there are plenty of ‘arrows’ still needing to be removed from the body of English cricket. (AFP)

 

Teams:

 

England (Probable): Andrew Strauss (c), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Jonathan Bairstow, Ian Bell, James Taylor, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson.

 

South Africa (Probable): Graeme Smith (c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), Jacques Rudolph, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.


Time: 11:00 local (15.30 IST)

 

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Dubai

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Australia England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes

Phil Hughes passes away: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray pay tribute

Sri Lanka v England, 2nd ODI at Colombo, Preview: Hosts look to continue domination over England

Phil Hughes passes away: Former England cricketers feels for Sean Abbott

Phil Hughes passes away: Sourav Ganguly expresses grief

Bengal announce 14-member squad for Col CK Nayudu tournament

Prakash Bhandari: The teenage prodigy BCCI could not capitalise on

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Kolkata is where Kolkata was

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Yo Yo Honey Singh goes into depression? His whereabouts unknown!

इबोला प्रायोगिक दवा के प्रयोग के नतीजे सकारात्मक आए

Shocking: Priyanka Chopra’s property a part of a sex racket?

Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan to share stage with Rajat Sharma to celebrate 21 years of Aap Ki Adaalat!

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Kanika Maheshwari aka Meenakshi of Diya Aur Baati Hum: Gautam needs to control his anger a little

सुपरमॉडल केट का क्रिसमस के लिए ब्यूटी टिप्स

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here