South Africa take on England in a 4 match test series starting at Lords on 6 July and ending with the 4th test in Manchester on 4 August. The English Summer of cricket will produce some top class cricket.
England have been in poor test match form over the past 12 months, playing 11 matches, losing 7, winning 3 and drawing 1. Contributing to these poor stats was a tour to India where they lost the series 4 -0. Their home record has not been much better with 2 wins and 2 losses against Pakistan last year. Their recent form in ODIs and T20s has been good and they will be looking to transfer this form into the longer format of the game.
South Africa on the other hand has been in superb test form and has only lost 1 test in their last 11 matches. Recent test series victories have been over Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. This has been achieved without strike bowler Dale Steyn and world class batsman, AB de Villiers.
Head to Head
South Africa is currently ranked number 2 in the world test rankings and will be looking to grab another test series victory in England. South Africa won series in England in 2008, and 2012.
The last time England toured South Africa was in 2015, playing a 4 match test series. England won the series 2-1, winning in Durban and Johannesburg. South Africa won the last test to make the series loss more respectable.
The second test match takes place at Nottingham, the last time South Africa played at Trent Bridge was in 2003, losing the match by 70 runs.
England have a good record at Trent Bridge, winning 6 of their past 8 tests at the venue and losing just one.
“I think they (England) would start favourites, they just look in a better place at this stage. Let’s hope the guys (Proteas) get the leadership there and our team prepares really well,” Graeme Smith said in a Power of Sport podcast.
A number of batmen have been in fantastic form over the last few months. For South Africa, Faf du Plessis has averaged 57.23 in his last 11 test matches with a highest score of 118 not out. Quinton de Kock is averaging 54.47 in his last 11 matches with a highest score of 104.
For England, newly appointed Captain Joe Root averages 52.42 in his last 11 tests with an impressive 254 as his highest score. Wicket Keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow averages 52.15 in his last 12 matches with 167 not out as his best score.
Inconsistency has been one problem for England in this series and hence they will be wary of it. But after the all-round performance in the Third Test at Oval, the hosts seem firm favourites to seal the deal with a win.
South Africa will look at rising star Rabada, who is returning from a one match suspension, to continue his form with a remarkable average of 23.69 in his young career and best figures of 7/112. Philander will be at his best with the new ball and has an average of 23.51 in his last 11 tests with best of 5/21.
For England 122 match veteran Anderson will be looking to maintain his career average of 28.50. While his long term bowling partner Broad is averaging 28.82 in his last 8 test matches with a best of 4/33. All-rounder Ben Stokes has also been impressive with the ball averaging 25.14 in his last 8 test matches.
England comfortably won the first test at Lords before the Proteas returned to form under captain Faf du Plessis to win the second test by 340 runs. Joe Root has lead from the front in all test matches but will need some support from the rest of the team. With inspired Faf, the Proteas will need to lift their game heading into the 4th test at Old Trafford. South Africa have only faced England eight times at Old Trafford in Tests, winning once in 1955.
England are unbeaten in their last 10 Manchester Tests, winning seven and drawing three. They haven’t lost here for 16 years (To Pakistan, by 108 runs).
With weather looking to play its part winning the toss will be vital. With bowler friendly conditions we are leaning towards a series leveling victory for the Proteas.
Fourth test match winner
Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest cricket betting odds
England: Joe Root(c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Liam Dawson, Keaton Jennings, Dawid Malan, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, Tom Westley, Steven Finn
South Africa: Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Heino Kuhn, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dean Elgar
Friday: Should be a dry day with heavy cloud cover – highs of 18C expected
Saturday: Late morning and early afternoon will see persistent showers, but the day brightens as it goes on
Sunday-Tuesday: More rain interruptions that were severely needed at The Oval last week.