England suffered a massive defeat by innings and 12 runs in the first Test at the Lords. Thus was their first defeat by an innings at The Lords since 2003 and the first in the Stokes-McCullum Era. The second Test is scheduled to be played at The Old Trafford, Manchester between 25th August to 29th August. A win here can give South Africa their first Test series win against the Hosts in 10 years.
England has been struggling to find an ideal opening pair. Alex Lees and Zak Crawley have been average so far. While Lees is adjusting to the Test side, Crawley’s form is concerning. He is averaging below 15 in the last 12 innings. Ollie Pope’s promotion to the number three position has revived his career as he has 1 century and two half-centuries in 10 innings since the change. WTC’s leading run-scorer Joe Root had an off game. But he averages 65 at Old Trafford. We might see century number 9 of this WTC cycle from Root.
Anderson and Broad will be leading the pace attack with Matty Potts and Stokes. Broad became the fourth player to take 100 wickets at a single venue in the last game. Broad and Anderson have 71 wickets in 18 innings at Manchester at an average of 22. Newcomer Potts already has 20 wickets in 5 Tests. England will keep Jack Leach in playing 11 as their only spinner.
South Africa Preview
A win at The Lords must have boosted the confidence of the SA side. They will remain unchanged for the second game. Elgar and Sarel Erwee will open for SA. Erwee scored 73 in the first Test while putting up an opening stand of 85 runs with skipper Elgar. Keegan Peterson and Elgar have 9 half centuries in the 8 Tests played of this cycle of WTC. But Markram’s form is a concern for SA. The right-handed batter is without a big score in the last 7 Tests.
Wow! Rabada and Nortje nailed the pace attack in the first Test. Rabada is currently in super hot form. He has 48 wickets in the last 8 Tests including 3 five-fers. He became the second fastest bowler in terms of deliveries to reach 250 wickets in the last game. Nortje has 23 wickets in 5 outings against England. Keshav Maharaj will handle the spin department just like Jack Leach.
The weather will be mostly cloudy throughout the game. Some showers are expected on day 5. The temperature will range between 11 and 23°C. The wind will be flowing from the west at 8-13 kph. The pitch favors pacers to generate more bounce as the game progresses. The outfield is fast. It is a little easy to score runs in the first innings compared to others.
The 2nd Test between England and South Africa will be played at Old Trafford, Manchester. The venue holds a capacity of 19000 spectators and has hosted 82 tests, 59 ODIs & 11 T20I so far. It is the home ground for Lancashire Cricket Club. Jim Laker has taken 10 wickets in an innings and 19 in a match at Machester.
Toss: To Bat
In 82 Tests, teams have successfully chased the target on 32 occasions. The team batting second has been victorious on 15 occasions. The average first innings score is 335 compared to 268 in the second. Therefore the team winning the toss should bat first.
Well, the Bouchball has given Bazzball a taste of its own medicine. South Africa has been phenomenal since the start of this WTC cycle. They have 6 wins and 2 losses in the last 8 Tests. But England is also playing a different ball game since McCullum has taken the coaching job. They have 4 wins in the last 5 Tests. They have won all the Test series against South Africa since 2012. In 10 matches played at Manchester between these two, England have 5 wins, 4 draws, and just one loss. A comeback is on the way.
We predict that England will defeat South Africa.