South Africa vs England Final Test Preview from a Very Excitable English Fan
So it has come down to the final match at the Wanderers to decide the outcome of this gripping test series between what you might aptly coin the two most inconsistent sides in the world. England find themselves 1 0 up with 1 to play and can quite frankly consider themselves lucky to not be 2 1 down with a salvaging job on their hands. The two miraculous draws in Centurion and Cape Town, following the same vein as the Cardiff Great Escape, mean that England find themselves in the box seat.
Andrew Flintoff, safe in the knowledge he’d no longer face the pressures of the test arena, vowed that England had to use their Ashes victory to springboard on to become the number one side in the world. Whilst he proclaimed this, whether he truly believed that they could go on to beat South Africa in their own backyard on this quest is another story. Nevertheless, that’s where England find themselves thanks to the heroics of Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell (hats off to scoring runs when it really matters) and the solid no. 11 batting of Graham Onions.
South Africa are going to look to smash England in the last game with their ‘do or die attitude’, and a Wanderers pitch, subject to rain and a South African groundsmen, that seems like promising a result aiding their cause. As for the team news, England have had a relatively quiet week with few dramas, whilst the Saffers have had a week of uncertainty and embarrassment.
England Team News
If England don’t go into the final test match unchanged I will eat my shoe. The question marks over the extra batter at the start of the series appear to have been eradicated. And surprisingly, it is the ego of Kevin Pietersen that is the biggest shrinking violet in the current line-up. Maybe KP should take a leaf out of the Colly/Bell book and try and occupy the crease to find some form. He looks an LBW candidate from the word go. Who knows? One knock and the ego could return.
Likely lineup: 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Ian Bell, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Graham Onions.
South Africa Team News
South Africa have had a much more eventful time of things over this past week. Friedel De Wet had to drop out with his back injury he got during the third test. In came Wayne Parnell, the left armer who set the T20 world cup on fire, tipped by many as having one of the biggest futures over the next decade. In a comical episode that would have got the lacklustre Paul Harris in a spin, Imran Tahir the Pakistani born legspinner was called into the squad (maybe England should cop less stick for fielding Saffers) to only later be withdrawn for not qualifying to play for his adopted country. As for those definitely starting, Ashwell Prince and JP Duminy have massive points to prove in this series. Dale Steyn could be devastating if he replicates the second new ball spell on the final day at Newlands.
Likely lineup: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Ashwell Prince, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Paul Harris, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Wayne Parnell.
So in summary, England have had quite a steady week and will name an unchanged side. As for South Africa, their week has been chaotic, comedic and controversial. Quite frankly though, who really cares how their week has been? It’s time to let the talking be made on the pitch and keep our fingers crossed for a thrilling finale!
Disclaimer: this article set out to fulfill all the responsibilities and practices of objective reporting but then the patriotic English voice in my head started spouted shit. It’s not often that England fans get close to seeing their side mix it with, let alone even beat, the best sides in the world.
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