Good hunt­ing for Proteas at Lord’s

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

THE PROTEAS start their four-match Test se­ries against Eng­land at Lord’s, the “home of cricket”, to­day with­out skip­per Faf du Plessis. The South Africans are al­ready with­out bowl­ing king­pin Dale Steyn and premier bats­man AB de Vil­liers.

Dean Elgar takes over the cap­taincy and one of two rook­ies, Ai­den Markram or The­u­nis de Bruyn, will take Du Plessis’s place. Markram, a former Un­der-19 World Cup-winning cap­tain, is un­capped and De Bruyn has one Test cap.

Eng­land also have a first-time Test skip­per in Joe Root, who takes over a for­mi­da­ble unit that boasts plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence in Alas­tair Cook, Stu­art Broad, James An­der­son, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and the ex­plo­sive pres­ence of Ben Stokes.

Elgar has sea­soned play­ers of his own to call on in Hashim Amla, Ver­non Phi­lan­der and Morné Morkel, not to men­tion the pre­co­cious tal­ents of Kag­iso Rabada and Quin­ton de Kock.

Lord’s has been a happy hunt­ing ground for the Proteas in the past.

Since read­mis­sion, South Africa have played five Tests there, winning four and draw­ing one.

In 1994, Ke­pler Wes­sels’s team beat Eng­land by 356 runs af­ter Allan Don­ald and Fanie de Vil­liers had ter­rorised the English bats­men.

In 1998, it was Don­ald and Shaun Pol­lock who helped steer the Proteas to an em­phatic 10-wicket vic­tory.

The match in 2003 was an­other one-sided af­fair. Graeme Smith scored 259 in the first in­nings and Makhaya Ntini took 10 wick­ets to se­cure vic­tory by an in­nings and 92 runs.

The 2008 Test was drawn, but not be­fore Smith had posted 107 as South Africa fol­lowed on. The last time the Proteas vis­ited Lord’s, in 2012, Amla scored 121 and Phi­lan­der took seven wick­ets to earn Smith’s team a hard-fought 51-run win and the se­ries 2-0.

There you have it: Lord’s is filled with plenty of happy mem­o­ries for South African crick­eters.

Let’s hope the class of 2017 con­tin­ues the trend.

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