South Africa will be hosting England in a 4-match Test series as they aim to open their account in the ICC World Test Championship. The Proteas lost the 3-match Test series against India 0-3 and are placed at the bottom of the Test Championship table. A few new faces are named in the South African squad for this series. England, on the other hand, failed to win an Ashes series at home for the first time in 18 years. They also lost a Test series against New Zealand recently which was played outside the Test Championship.
All the key stats and numbers ahead of the 4-match Test series between South Africa and England:
1 – England is the only team to defeat South Africa in a Boxing Day Test since the start of 2013. England won the 2015 Boxing Day Test hosted by Durban with a margin of 241 runs. South Africa won four games of the remaining five Boxing Day Tests in this period.
In fact, South Africa has not defeated England in a Test match that began on Boxing Day. In six Tests between these two sides that started on Boxing Day, the England team won three while another three ended in a draw.
5 – South Africa lost each of their last five Test matches – Two against Sri Lanka at home and two against India away from home. Only twice the South African team lost more consecutive Tests. They lost 8 consecutive Tests between 1889 and 1899 and also six losses between 1911 and 1912.
6 – As many as six uncapped players are named in South Africa’s Test squad. Four of those six players have an experience of playing 100+ first-class – Pieter Malan (148), Rassie van der Dussen (113), Rudi Second (110), Dane Patterson (100), Beuran Hendricks (85), Dwaine Pretorius (55). Only ten players till date made their Test debut for South Africa after featuring in 100+ first-class matches.
6 – Vernon Philander played six Test matches against England picking up 22 wickets at an average of 23.54. All the six Tests he played against England were in England. The upcoming Test series will be his first against the English team at home and also his last International assignment before retirement.
27.09 – Faf du Plessis has a batting average of 27.09 in Test cricket against England; the 2nd lowest by him against any opponent. The South African skipper has scored 298 runs with help of three fifties in 11 innings across 6 Tests against the English team.
84 – James Anderson has picked up 84 wickets in Test cricket against South Africa; the most number of wickets against South Africa by an England bowler. These are the 3rd most number of wickets picked by any player in England-South Africa Tests. Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald lead the list with 91 and 86 wickets respectively.
1999/00 – Last time South Africa won a Test series at home against England was way back in 1999/00 as the Saffers won the 5-match series by 2-1 margin. South Africa clashed off against England in three home Test series in this period – 5-match series in 2004/05 (England won by 2-1), 4-match series in 2009/10 (Drawn 1-1) and 4-match series in 2015/16 (England won by 2-1).
2003 – The last instance of South Africa playing a Test match against England without any of AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn in the playing XI was way back in 2003 during the series in England. At least one of the trio featured in the 24 Tests between South Africa and England played in these 16 years.
In the last 15 years, South Africa played only four home Test matches without any of De Villiers, Morne and Steyn in the playing XI. 3 vs Sri Lanka in 2016/17 and 1 vs Bangladesh in 2017 – All won by the Proteas.
10161 – Pieter Malan amassed 10161 runs in his 148-match first-class career at an average of 45.16. He struck 32 centuries and 42 fifties in this format. Only Peter Kirsten (270), Jimmy Cook (246) and Stephen Cook (165) played 148 or more FC matches before their Test debut for South Africa.
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