The most-anticipated Test series of the cricketing year for English fans is about to commence as the 3-match series against South Africa gets underway at The Oval. The series, which will see the two teams go head to head to be the number-one ranked Test team in the world, begins in the capital tomorrow, with the second Test at Headingley in Yorkshire taking place from 2-6 August, ahead of the last Test at Lord’s from the 16-20th.
South Africa enter the series in third-place on the rankings but a series win would see them displace England at the top, whilst the Three Lions look to maintain their position and continue their unbeaten run so far in the summer season.
The South Africans’ preparation has been disjointed after a training camp in Switzerland being followed by two rain delayed matches against Somerset and Kent, whilst Andu Flower’s team come off the back of their 2-0 win over the West Indies.
The series sees the clash of arguably the best two bowling attacks, with England’s Grame Swann, the best spin bowler in the world alongside the faster-paced Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Tim Bresnan in the formidable-looking English attack, whilst the visitors boast Dale Steyn, the current number one-ranked Test bowler and Morne Morkel and the 6 foot 6 fast-paced Morne Morkel. However, veteran wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has suffered a career-ending eye injury with the Proteas bringing in Thami Tsolekile to replace the 35-year old whilst Marchante de Lange is also ruled out through injury.
However, it should promise to be a fascinating series between two of the elite nations of Test cricket.