Not at Lord’s, obviously. That’ll be a rain-affected draw like usual. England will win the series though.
Why? Because it’s tricky playing in England. England supporters don’t realise this sometimes, but it is. Conditions are as tricky and alien to most nations’ players as Sri Lankan or Indian conditions are to England’s.
Pitches are greener, the ball swings more and, unlike some countries, England has its own balls…
The following South African players have never played a Test in England: Hashim Amla, Ashwell Prince, A B de Villiers, Morne Morkel, Paul Harris and Dale Steyn. That’s over half of their team. Some of them have played county cricket or league cricket, but still – they’ll have to learn fast.
Of the others, most have struggled a bit over here. Neil McKenzie’s career batting average drops from 38.39 to 31.66 in England, although those innings were during his first, rubbish career, so maybe we should ignore that.
Jacques Kallis averages 37.07 in England versus 57.14 overall. That’s a bigger gap than the one in his skull.
Mark Boucher averages three less with the bat in England, Makhaya Ntini averages eight more with the ball. Graeme Smith‘s English record is as huge as his torso, but after scoring 600-and-odd runs in his first three innings, his subsequent record is as conspicuously undersized as his weirdly ill-proportioned mouth.
These statistics are a whole load of nothing really, but it gives an idea of what the South Africans are up against. They’re not going to waltz in and turn England over as some people seem to think. England is a foreign land to some.
We’ve deliberately set this to publish at 11.20am, so hopefully England will have lost six wickets and we’ll look like the idiot we most definitely are. Either that or it’ll be raining. We predict that the Lord’s drainage system will be the true winner in this first Test.