Cricket News

All eyes on new captain Joe Root as England takes on South Africa at home

England will take on an AB de Villiers-less South Africa in the European side's first ever test encounter after former skipper Alastair Cook stepping down.

Published: 05th July 2017 12:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th July 2017 12:27 PM   |  A+A-

Root was appointed in February after Alastair Cook stood down but this week's match will be England's first Test since the change of skipper.

Joe Root and England will hope the captaincy to drive him on to even greater heights as it has done for two contemporary star batsmen - Steve Smith and Virat Kohli. (File| AP)

By PTI

LONDON: A new England era will start when Joe Root captains the Test side against South Africa at Lord's on Thursday.
 
Root was appointed in February after Alastair Cook, still in the team purely as an opening batsman, stood down but this week's match will be England's first Test since the change of skipper.

England will hope the captaincy drives the 26-year-old Yorkshireman on to even greater heights as it has done for two fellow star batsmen - Australia's Steve Smith and India's Virat Kohli.

"The way Rooty goes about his cricket, he's nice and positive the way he bats, I suspect the way he will captain the team will be similar," said England's Australian coach Trevor Bayliss last week.

South Africa ended the Test captaincy of several England skippers in Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss.

A similar fate, however, is unlikely to befall Root, whatever the outcome of a four-match series, ahead of this year's Ashes campaign in Australia.
 
The immediate task for Root is to return England to winning ways in Tests after eight defeats in a 2016 that ended with a 4-0 series loss in India.

Root's county colleague Gary Ballance has forced his way back into the side after piling on the runs for Yorkshire even though his last six Test innings have yielded just 49 runs in total. Meanwhile, Keaton Jennings, who attended the same Johannesburg school as South Africa wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock, is set to open alongside Cook - who has been scoring heavily for Essex this season - against the country of his birth.
 
With veteran new ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad fit to lead an attack featuring Durham quick Mark Wood, England must decide whether to hand a debut to another paceman in Toby Roland-Jones, who would be playing on his Middlesex home ground, or give Liam Dawson a first Test on home soil following the Hampshire left-arm spinner's promising start in Chennai in December.

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