Eng­land look to ‘pos­i­tive’ Root against South Africa

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

A new Eng­land era will start when Joe Root cap­tains the Test side against South Africa at Lord’s to­day. Root was ap­pointed in Fe­bru­ary af­ter Alas­tair Cook, still in the team purely as an open­ing bats­man, stood down but this week’s match will be Eng­land’s first Test since the change of skip­per.

Eng­land will hope the cap­taincy drives the 26-year-old York­shire­man on to even greater heights as it has done for two fel­low star bats­men-Aus­tralia’s Steve Smith and In­dia’s Vi­rat Kohli.

“The way Rooty goes about his cricket, he’s nice and pos­i­tive the way he bats, I sus­pect the way he will cap­tain the team will be sim­i­lar,” said Eng­land’s Aus­tralian coach Trevor Bayliss last week.

South Africa ended the Test cap­taincy of sev­eral Eng­land skip­pers in Nasser Hus­sain, Michael Vaughan and An­drew Strauss. A sim­i­lar fate, how­ever, is un­likely to be­fall Root, what­ever the out­come of a four­match se­ries, ahead of this year’s Ashes cam­paign in Aus­tralia.

The im­me­di­ate task for Root is to re­turn Eng­land to winning ways in Tests af­ter eight de­feats in a 2016 that ended with a 40 se­ries loss in In­dia. Root’s county col­league Gary Bal­lance has forced his way back into the side af­ter pil­ing on the runs for York­shire even though his last six Test in­nings have yielded just 49 runs in to­tal.

Mean­while Keaton Jen­nings, who at­tended the same Jo­han­nes­burg school as South Africa wicket-keeper Quin­ton de Kock, is set to open along­side Cook-who has been scor­ing heav­ily for Es­sex this sea­son-against the coun­try of his birth.

With vet­eran new ball duo James An­der­son and Stu­art Broad fit to lead an at­tack fea­tur­ing Durham quick Mark Wood, Eng­land must de­cide whether to hand a de­but to an­other pace­man in Toby Roland­Jones, who would be play­ing on his Mid­dle­sex home ground, or give Liam Daw­son a first Test on home soil fol­low­ing the Hamp­shire left-arm spin­ner’s promis­ing start in Chen­nai in De­cem­ber.

ELGAR VARI­A­TION

South Africa boast a re­mark­able record of hav­ing lost only one away Test se­ries in 10 years. They have been with­out AB de Vil­liers in Test cricket for more than 12 months and the tal­ented bats­man will miss the whole of this se­ries as he con­sid­ers his in­ter­na­tional fu­ture.

South Africa too will have a new cap­tain in Dean Elgar but reg­u­lar skip­per Faf du Plessis is ex­pected back for the sec­ond Test at Not­ting­ham fol­low­ing the birth of his first child. “He is a gutsy player,” South Africa coach Rus­sell Domingo said of open­ing bats­man Elgar.

“He epit­o­mises South African cricket to the tee.” The Proteas had a dif­fi­cult start to this tour, los­ing to Eng­land in both one-day and Twenty20 se­ries ei­ther side of a firstround exit at the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.—AFP

LON­DON: Eng­land’s cricket cap­tain Joe Root, right, and South Africa’s cap­tain Dean Elgar pose with tro­phies dur­ing the pho­to­call at Lord’s, cricket ground in Lon­don yes­ter­day. Eng­land will play against South Africa in the first cricket Test match of the cur­rent se­ries at Lord’s start­ing to­day. — AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.