England vs South Africa: Second Test Preview

England and South Africa will lock horns in the second Test of their four-match series at Trent Bridge.

After a bit of a rudderless display in the first Test at Lord’s, the Proteas will be glad to have their captain back in the mix for the second match at Trent Bridge.

Faf and his boys will know that defeat isn’t an option if they are to keep their hopes of a surprise series win alive. Claiming a win will be easier said than done though, with the hosts unbeaten in Nottingham since 2007.

England vs South Africa | Friday 14 July – Tuesday 18 July | Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire

To Win Match
England 6/10 | Draw 26/10 | South Africa 4/1

England
The hosts will be pretty pleased with their outing in the first Test – a 211-run win against South Africa will put them in the perfect headspace going into Trent Bridge. The big story in their camp would have been Joe Root’s performance in his first Test as England captain.

The Yorkshireman rode his luck a bit in the early parts of the innings before settling and putting the South African attack to the sword with a masterful 234-ball 190. He was supported brilliantly by Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, who mustered first innings scores of 56 and 87 respectively.

While Root may have stolen the show, it was Ali who drove home England’s advantage. The Worcestershire all-rounder bagged his first ever 10-wicket-haul on top of his excellent first innings batting contribution.

I’m not really sure whether the England camp will make any changes to the side. The only change I can realistically see happening is Toby Roland-Jones coming in for Liam Dawson. They had a topsy-turvy debut, claiming four wickets without really keeping the scoring rate down. With Ali in such good touch with the ball, it might be worth throwing in the extra seamer.

Of course, we could also see Roland-Jones come in for Mark Wood, who also endured a pretty average first Test. I wouldn’t go this route, however, as Wood’s pace can make things happen in a quieter period of the game.

All in all, the English look in good shape to extend their excellent unbeaten run at Trent Bridge which stretches back to 2007. The last Test played here was that Ashes Test in which they bundled out the Australians for a first innings score of 60 in an innings and 78 run win. Happy memories indeed for the likes of Cook, Root, Bairstow, Wood, Stokes, Ali and Broad who all played in that match.

South Africa
The South Africans only have themselves to blame for the loss at Lord’s in the first Test. The visitor’s performance was riddled with silly individual errors – I’m looking at you, Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj. Their cause won’t be aided at all by Kagiso Rabada’s one-match suspension after giving Ben Stokes an overzealous send-off (according to match officials).

With Rabada’s suspension and du Plessis’ return, the squad need a bit of a shake-up. Duane Olivier is likely to replace Rabada while du Plessis could possibly come in for JP Duminy, who has had a woeful run in the Test side over the last few series.

Another issue that du Plessis and Russel Domingo face is whether or not to drop a specialist batsman for one of Chris Morris or Andile Phelukwayo. Without Rabada, the attack does look a bit light-weight and the thought is that there won’t be enough wicket-taking threat with Olivier, Morkel and Philander.

Heino Kuhn could potentially fall out of the side if this is indeed the case with Dean Amla opening things up with Dean Elgar. Faf could then potentially come in at first drop with de Bruyn, Bavuma, de Kock and Philander rounding off an impressive middle order.

Looking ahead, the batsmen are going to have to convert their starts if the visitors are to have any real chance of winning here. Five players grabbed score in excess of 48 in the first innings at Lord’s, however, none managed to reach 60. That will need to be remedied, especially if Joe Root is going to be banging out 150+ for England.

Verdict: South Africa (DNB) 33/10
While England are rightly favourites, the South Africans will be desperate to bounce back in Nottinghamshire. With Faf back in the mix, I think we’ll see a far more clinical display from the visiting side. Stay on the safe side and back the Proteas on the Draw No Bet market at 33/10.

Value Bet: Jonny Bairstow to top score in England's first innings 11/2
A bit of a long shot, and we'll be banking on a top order collapse from England (which is well within the realms of possibility). Bairstow has bailed England out of holes before and wouldn't bet against it happening again at some point soon. Small stake on a speculative punt. 

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.net

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