Good hunting for Proteas at Lord’s
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.