And so there you have it. South Africa are the new number one Test side in the world. England fought hard on the final day, but they were always the side on the backfoot, and Proteas only had to hold their nerves to attain their deserved numero uno ranking.
England’s Jonny Bairstow surprised many with his painstaking 95 at Lord’s. Coming in as a replacement for the sacked Kevin Pietersen, Bairstow was expected to be the weak link in the English batting line-up, along with James Taylor.
Going into Lord’s, South Africa had everything going for them. They were 1-0 up in the series, their top four batsmen were in exceptional form – Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Jacques Kallis and Hashim Alma had all scored hundreds at different points during the first two matches.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) today have named a 15-man squad for the ICC World Twenty 20 2012 to be held in Sri Lanka. All-rounder Jacques Kallis who is not quite a regular for the Proteas in this format of the game finds himself in the squad while another veteran Graeme Smith has missed out. AB de Villiers as expected will lead the South African team.
The Second Test at Headingley ended in a draw as expected but both the teams had to work extremely hard on the final day. It was just a long day at Headingley with play getting extended by nearly one and a half hours from the scheduled close.
South Africa are in a commanding position in the opening Test at The Oval with an imposing total of 403 for 2 in reply to England’s 385 by the close of play on Day 3. Skipper Graeme Smith became only the 8th player to score a hundred in 100th Test. He is also the first ever South African to achieve this rare feat.
The first Test between South Africa and England being played at The Oval is a special one for Proteas’ skipper Graeme Smith for sure. The match marks the 100thTest of the career, a glorious one for sure.
This is officially the series that will decide which is the best team in the world. A win for England will ensure they continue to occupy that position while a triumph for the Proteas will mean that they will topple the hosts. It is not surprising then that neither England nor South Africa will begin the series as favourites.