Second Test preview: England v South Africa

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The pitch may not be a green top but swing is virtually guaranteed at Trent Bridge as England and South Africa fight out the second Test.

It is expected to be a shootout between the quicks and South Africa would do well to add an extra seamer in the absence of work horse strike bowler Kagiso Rabada.

The story of Rabada’s suspension has dominated opinion pieces this week but whatever your thoughts on the matter, the Proteas would be best served by moving on.

The English will not have seen too much of his replacement Duanne Olivier but neither have many Proteas fans, with the quick still very raw.

Chris Morris could slot into Theunis de Bruyn’s slot in the team with Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock moving up to fifth and sixth respectively to give the visitors another seam option.

England will be looking to keep on top of South Africa and have named an unchanged XI ahead of the Test which is a sure sign of confidence.

The Three Lions feel this XI covers all the bases, batting deep enough and giving Root four seam options and two spinners to call on.

South Africa have shown stubborn resilience in this series and will not go down without a fight but they have been weak on the basics, dropping catches and giving away their wickets.

JP Duminy pays the price for a long run of poor form and the skipper Faf du Plessis slots into his place at number four which gives the middle order more steel.

This match is a must win for the Proteas who need to win this to retain any hope of a series triumph.

England look a strong unit at the moment although the Proteas might not mind having another go at that slightly weak looking top three early on in Nottingham.

The first morning could be key with the side bowling needing to make the most of the new duke ball and to follow that up with ruthlessness.

Key Players

Root will be expected to lead by example again as he did at Lord’s and the innings he played here in 2015 is evidence he can.

Stuart Broad could be a handful on his home patch just as he was in the 2015 Ashes clincher.

More than ever the Proteas need the steady influence of Hashim Amla as their middle order struggles to adapt to life without AB de Villiers

Vernon Philander is South Africa’s swing king in the absence of Dale Steyn and the Proteas trust him to settle on a troubling line.


England XI: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes (vc), Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson.

South Africa (likely XI): Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Chris Morris, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Morne Morkel

Last five head-to-head results

2017 First Test: England won by 211 runs at Lord’s
2016 Fourth Test: South Africa won by 280 runs at Centurion
2016 Third Test: England won by 7 wickets at the Wanderers
2016 Second Test: Drawn match at Newlands
2015 First Test: England won by 241 runs at Kingsmead


July 14-18

Morning session: 11:00-13:00 (10:00-12:00 GMT)
Afternoon session: 13:40-15:40 (12:40-16:40)
Evening session: 16:00-18:00 (15:00-17:00)

Umpires: Paul Reiffel, Simon Fry
TV Umpire: Sundaram Ravi
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe