South Africa set to test England

Related tags South africa Test cricket

Helen Bendell England's Test cricket side recorded a series victory against the visiting Kiwis during May and June,...

Helen Bendell

England's Test cricket side recorded a series victory against the visiting Kiwis during May and June, winning two out of the three matches (the first one was drawn). The win moved them one point ahead of South Africa in the ICC Test rankings, putting England in third place.

This month's southern hemisphere tourists will, however, be a tougher challenge, with an attacking game superior to the Kiwis. The English squad is identical to that which beat the Black Caps and the First Test in the four-fixture series against South Africa starts at Lord's on Thursday.

While England won their last Test series in South Africa, their previous Test encounters on home turf ended level. The last time the Proteas played a Test match at this ground was back in 2003, when they won the five-day match by an innings and 92 runs.

South Africa declared on 682 for 6 in the first innings of that match, with Graeme Smith hitting a grand total of 259. Only Andrew Flintoff reached 100 runs for England, with 142 in the second innings, but Freddie hasn't played a Test since the Ashes defeat in January 2007. The Lancashire player, still recovering from ankle and side injuries, will not play the First Test but is expected to feature in the Second at Leeds.

South Africa's warm-up game against Somerset ended in a draw, but not before all-rounder Jacques Kallis notched up a run-a-ball total of 160 before retiring after a blow to

the elbow.

This week's top game: Saturday, 10.30am

Cricket: England v South Africa (SS1)

Captain Michael Vaughan has been included in the squad for the series despite a niggling knee injury. Having missed Yorkshire's Friends Provident Trophy semi-final against Essex last weekend, he will skipper a side which also includes Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood. Selectors' eyes will be on these two, especially with Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah pressing to take their places. Collingwood, lucky not to be suspended for the Tests in addition to the one-dayers, will be looking to make amends for his ICC ban.

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