Boxing Day Test: Why Are England Cricketers Wearing Black Armbands in Centurion?

England cricketers are sporting black armbands in the ongoing Boxing Test against South Africa that got underway from Thursday in Centurion. The gesture is in remembrance former England international Bob Willis who died earlier this month.

“The team will wear black armbands in the first Test in South Africa as a tribute to Bob Willis,” England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had already announced in a statement.

England legend Willis died aged 70 after a long illness. The right-arm pacer represented England in 90 Tests, captaining in 18 of them and also played 64 ODIs during a career that began in 1971. In Tests, he took 325 wickets at 25.20 while in ODIs he had 80 wickets at 24.60.

England will play four Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is during their tour of South Africa that ends on February 16 next year.

The tour kicked off at SuperSport Park on Thursday with England opting to bowl first.

The Test is James Anderson’s 150th of career as he became the first fast bowler to achieve the milestone. He marked his return to international cricket with a wicket off the very first delivery as he removed South Africa opener Dean Elgar for a first-ball duck.

At lunch, South Africa had reached 79/3.

Teams

South Africa: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje

England: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson