England v South Africa 1st Test

Image courtesy of skysports.com
Controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen has been in fine form. Image courtesy of skysports.com
Fresh from a series clean sweep against Australia in the 50 over game, England  returns to Test duty when it faces South Africa  at the Oval on Thursday. Andy Flower’s side will be looking to continue its golden summer against the Proteas, having gone twelve games unbeaten this season.

Ravi Bopara  has earnt a recall to the side after impressing in limited overs matches of late, while Stuart Broad and James Anderson also return after being rested for England’s last Test match, against the West Indies in June. Kevin Pietersen  goes into the match in sparkling form for the hosts having belted 234* for Surrey in his most recent appearance, while skipper Andrew Strauss  will be looking to build on his good form, which has seen him score three centuries in his past four matches.

With wicketkeeper Mark Boucher suffering a career ending eye injury in the tour match against Somerset, the tourists are set to give AB de Villiers  the gloves in the series opener. JP Duminy  will likely be given another chance in the middle order with Boucher out, but it is the battle between South Africa’s much vaunted pace attack of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander and England’s in-form batsman that will be the one to savour.

England defeated South Africa by 6 wickets here in 2008, starting a run that has seen the past four Test matches played at the ground produce a result. The last Draw  here came when England faced India at the ground a year earlier.

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