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England, South Africa and Lords

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Lord's_cricket_ground_EnglandSouth Africa take on England in the first Test at Lords on the 6th of July. England have a new captain, Joe Root, who takes over the reins from Alastair Cook. He will be keen to start off his captaincy career on a winning note. Jake Ball is out injured while Haseeb Hameed, who made such a promising start to this Test career in England, has been left out due to poor recent form.

South Africa are not at full strength with Dale Steyn missing due to injury. AB De Villiers has opted to miss the Test series, choosing instead to spend time with his family and focus on his limited overs game. There is also some doubt regarding his Test future, which will be clear in August. There is also doubt regarding the availability of their Test captain, Faf Du Plessis.

In spite of fielding a side missing quite a few of their best players, South Africa are a formidable side. They have won their last 2 Test series in England and have lost a Test series in England just once since 1960, an achievement spanning 6 Test series. While any side missing so many quality players are bound to feel their absence, if there is any side that can bravely soldier on and still win, it is the Proteas.

 

Lords is the most iconic venue in the world and most players feel honoured to play on the hallowed turf. In fact, if most First Class cricketers were told that they could represent their country in only 1 Test and were asked to choose a venue, they would probably choose Lords.

Lords has hosted 133 Tests, which is 24 more than any other Test venue in the world. England has played in 131 Tests at Lords and has won 51, lost 31 and drawn 49. However, England’s win-loss ratio in Tests at Lords (1.645) is only its 4th best at home after Edgbaston, Old Trafford and Kennington Oval.

In England, the two teams have contested 64 Tests with England winning 27, South Africa winning 13 and 24 being drawn. At Lords, the two teams have faced each other in 15 Tests, with England emerging victorious on 6 occasions, South Africa on 5 occasions and 4 being drawn. Along with the Basin Reserve in Wellington, South Africa have won the most of their overseas Tests at Lords (5). Lords is the venue where England has won the most Tests against South Africa at home along with Headingley and the Kennington Oval. Overall, England and South Africa have played 145 Tests, with England winning 58, South Africa winning 32 and 55 being drawn.

There have been 5 batsmen who have scored Test centuries on debut at Lords with 131 by Sourav Ganguly against England in 1996 being the highest. The other four are Matt Prior, Andrew Strauss, Harry Graham and John Hampshire. There has been a total of 235 Test centuries scored at Lords with the highest being 333 by Graham Gooch for England against India in 1990. Out of the 235 centuries, one was a triple century and 16 were double centuries. 164 batsmen have scored centuries at Lords. Out of these, 69 are from England while 12 have been from South Africa.

The highest Test score in an innings at Lords by an Englishman against South Africa is 211 by Jack Hobbs in June 1924. The highest by a South African against England is 259 by Graeme Smith in July 2003.

There have been 178 five wicket hauls in Tests at Lords, with the best bowling figures in an innings being 8/34 by Ian Botham for England against Pakistan in June 1978. The best bowling figures in an innings by an Englishman against South Africa is 7/39 by Brian Statham in June 1955. The best bowling figures in an innings by a South African against England is 7/65 by SJ Pegler in June 1912. Out of the 178 five wicket hauls taken by bowlers at Lords, 92 have been by Englishmen while 13 have been by South Africans.

The most number of five wicket hauls taken by a bowler from England is 8 by Ian Botham, while Allan Donald has taken the most by a South African bowler with 2.

There have been 27 bowlers who have taken ten wicket hauls at Lords, with Derek Underwood being the only one to do it twice. Out of the 27 bowlers, 15 have been from England while Makhaya Ntini has been the only one to achieve the feat for South Africa.

The most number of catches taken by a wicket-keeper at Lords is 50 by Matt Prior, while the most number of stumpings is 12 by Godfrey Evans. Mark Boucher holds the record for most dismissals in Tests between England and South Africa at the venue with 11 (10 catches and 1 stumping) while Godfrey Evans has the most for England with 10 (7 catches and 3 stumpings).

Alastair Cook has taken the most catches by a non-wicket-keeper for England against all opposition at Lords with 24. In Tests between England and South Africa at Lords, Jacques Kallis has taken the most catches for South Africa with 6 while Bill Edrich and Jack Ikin have taken the most for England with 4.

It is vital for both teams to hit the ground running in the first Test itself as the team that is on the back foot after the first Test might find it difficult to stage a comeback. Most fans will be hoping that the Test is not interrupted due to rain and that the spectators at the ground and fans all over the world are treated to a Test match featuring high quality cricket that lasts the entire duration of 5 days.

 

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