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South Africa at Trent Bridge

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England_South_Africa_cricketSouth Africa take on England in the 2nd Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, commencing on the 14th of July. England won the first Test comprehensively by a margin of 211 runs and South Africa will be smarting from that defeat. Since this is a 4 Test series, South Africa know that another defeat means that they cannot win the series. Therefore, they will be looking to bounce back and square the series. 

Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. South Africa definitely did not have the rub of the green going their way. Normally, they are a very good fielding side, but in the first Test they dropped quite a few chances, including two from England’s skipper Joe Root and he made them pay with an accomplished 190 on his captaincy debut. 

South Africa were also not at full strength with Dale Steyn unavailable due to injury; AB de Villiers was missing, citing his enormous workload; and skipper Faf Du Plessis also skipped the Test as he was back at home with his wife as she was giving birth. South Africa will be further handicapped due to the suspension of Kagiso Rabada, while JP Duminy has done little to inspire confidence in his batting. 

Du Plessis will back in charge at Trent Bridge and the Proteas will also be hoping that Hashim Amla makes a return to form. They need their top order to fire and score big runs as they cannot rely on their lower order to bail them out of trouble on every occasion.

 

The Proteas are a proud cricketing nation and have won their last 3 Test series away from home against Australia and their last 2 Test series away from home against England. Clearly they are normally good travelers who just need to iron out a few chinks in their armour and make a few changes in personnel to put up a better show.

 

They should also find a way for Quinton de Kock to bat up the order as he is a quick scorer who is capable of flaying the English bowling. However, that may not be possible as he is the one donning the keeping gloves and the workload may prove too much. 

South Africa’s issues aside, here are some stats highlights from Tests at Trent Bridge:

There have been 61 Tests played at Trent Bridge with 38 ending in a decisive result and 23 being drawn. England have played 60 Tests and have won 22 and lost 16, while 22 have been drawn. There was one neutral Test played between Australia and South Africa in 1912 which ended in a draw. 

England have played 8 Tests versus South Africa at this venue and have won 4, lost 2 and drawn 2. Out of the last 10 Tests that England have played at this venue they have won 7, drawn 1 and lost 2. They are unbeaten in their last 7 Tests played at this venue.

In Tests in England, you get a lot of vagaries in atmospheric conditions, ranging from bright sunshine to gloomy and overcast conditions. Therefore, one would assume that the toss plays an important role in deciding the outcome. However, a closer inspection reveals that this is not the case. The team winning the toss has elected to bat on 51 out of the 61 occasions, which suggests that over the decades, it has been a good wicket to bat on and one on which there is no undue help for the bowlers.

 

Out of the 38 Tests, with a decisive result, the team winning the toss has won on 24 occasions, while losing on 14 occasions. The team batting first has won on 21 occasions, while the team fielding first has won on 17 occasions. 

 

The highest total at this venue is 658/8 declared by England against Australia in June 1938. England’s highest score against South Africa is 551 in June 1947, while South Africa’s highest score against England is 533 in the same Test. The average score in the 1st innings of a Test in the last 10 Tests is only 295, which suggests that, of late, the pitches have been conducive for bowling on the first morning.

Denis Compton has scored the highest aggregate number of runs in matches between England and South Africa at Trent Bridge, with 372 from 3 Tests at a batting average of 74.4 with 2 centuries. The great Dudley Nourse has scored the highest aggregate of runs for South Africa with 361 in 3 Tests at a batting average of 120.33 with 2 centuries. 

Unsurprisingly, the highest individual score by an Englishman against the Proteas is 163 by Denis Compton in June 1947. The highest by a South African against England is 208 by Dudley Nourse in June 1951. There have been a total of 102 centuries scored at this ground with 59 by English batsmen and 6 by South African batsmen.

Alec Bedser has taken the most wickets by an English bowler against South Africa at this venue with 13 while Shaun Pollock has taken the most aggregate wickets by a South African against England at this venue with 11. The best bowling figures by a South African bowler at this venue is 6/39 by Shaun Pollock in August 2003, while the best by an English bowler against South Africa is 6/28 by Frank Tyson in June 1955.

South Africa have the second-best Win-Loss ratio in Tests away from home amongst all Test teams since their readmission to international cricket in Tests in 1992 (1.34), just behind Australia (1.41). They are a team that has the talent and pedigree and with a bit of luck and some change in personnel can turn the tables in the second Test. That will set up the series nicely.

 

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