South Africa in England 2012 June 13, 2012

South Africa unchanged for England Tests

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South Africa's selectors have expressed confidence in the players that won the Test series in New Zealand 1-0 and named an unchanged squad for the tour of England in July and August. South Africa, the No. 2 Test side, can claim the No 1 spot from England by winning the three-match series.

Graeme Smith, South Africa's Test captain, has recovered from ankle surgery that ruled him out of the IPL, and has had throw-downs with Gary Kirsten already. Smith's wife is due to give birth to the couple's first-child after the first Test and he will return home, but is unlikely to miss a Test. The tour will mark significant milestones in Smith's career with the first Test at the Oval his 100th and the second the match in which he will surpass Allan Border as the most capped captain, provided he plays in it.

AB de Villiers will be the reserve wicketkeeper for the Test series, which could be Mark Boucher's final international assignment. Thami Tsolekile, who was awarded a national contract in February, was expected to be part of the tour with Mark Boucher's impending retirement. Instead, AB de Villiers has been named Boucher's understudy, but Tsolekile will be close at hand, if needed.

"We decided that instead of have Thami on the bench, waiting for a game, we would have him playing in the A series in Ireland instead," Andrew Hudson, convenor of selectors told ESPNcricinfo. "We did think of having a 16-man squad with Thami in it, but decided it would be better to have him playing."

Tsolekile will play in two four-day matches against Sri Lanka A, starting at on June 30, in Durban, and will also be part of the group of players who will spend time in Ireland. South Africa are sending their A side to Ireland at the same time as the Test squad tours England, similar to England's policy during the 2010 Ashes in Australia, to ensure they have enough reserves ready to play if needed. So Tsolekile is likely to be called on if needed.

Hudson could not confirm South Africa's long-term wicket-keeping plans and said they will be decided on "tour by tour". As matters stand, Boucher is set to retire after the third Test at Lord's which ends on August 20.

Another player whose Test career may be over is Ashwell Prince. The middle-order batsman was left out of the squad, despite having his national contract renewed in February. Prince last played in the 2011 Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka when he was involved in a disastrous run-out with Hashim Amla, which was thought to have sealed his fate. Prince was dropped for the New Year's Test and was also left out of the tour to New Zealand.

His place, at No.6 in the batting order, was taken by Jacques Rudolph, who was moved down after four unsuccessful Test at the top of the order. Rudolph scored a century in the Dunedin Test in New Zealand to prolong his stay in the national side. As back-up to Rudolph, JP Duminy has been included in the squad. Duminy made his Test comeback in Wellington and also scored a hundred to put him higher up in the queue than Prince for a Test place.

"We were delighted that JP stepped up and performed when we needed him in New Zealand. It showed us the depth we have in that position" Hudson said. "I would never write anybody off, so we are still watching Ashwell. It's good to see that he has gone to England and is playing in those conditions. If he does amazing things at domestic level, he could fight for his place back." Prince has spent the winter playing at Lancashire where he has scored at least 50 in each of his last four matches and 144 in one of them.

Also in contention for the No.6 spot is Faf du Plessis, who will captain the A side in the upcoming fixtures against Sri Lanka. Du Plessis put in good performances on the South African first-class scene last season, where he scored 599 runs in four matches at an average of 85.57, and Hudson said du Plessis is categorised as one for the future. "He will have to bide his time but we've noted how well he has done," he said. "But because of the nature of the squad we have now, he will have to knock someone off to get a look in. We have six spots and seven batsmen in good nick, so it's very hard to find gaps."

Squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, Marchant de Lange, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gyusuf6 on June 14, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    I guess the indians want the saffers to beat england really bad because they were humiliated by the English last year and i sincerely understand. Frankly the saffers are very good in paper but the question is will they be able to win against the english or CHOKE. I affraid they are going to choke.....

  • on June 14, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    Am i missing something, Here...Is Prior better then Ms Dhoni.. What????

  • Pablo123 on June 14, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    Killer team, simply one of the best cricket teams ever. It is really formidable in every department, there is not one weak link. Amazing, amazing, amazing, England will have to work very hard to beat them.

  • SICHO on June 14, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    @Valavan, so now you are bringing Herath in this discussion. Just a quick reminder that Herath took a 12fer against the very same batting line-up, and ooh Swann, this is the same guy that was never a threat to the Windies this past series, the same pitches that the Windies played on will be the same pitches the Saffers will play on this coming series. So if he showed no sign of trouble against Windies, what makes you so sure that he'll trouble the Saffers?

  • Potatis on June 14, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    I don't feel it will be a tight series, SA should win comfortably with that team, especially with the chance to become #1 in the series. They will play harder than England.

  • SuperSharky on June 14, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Last time around, South Africa won their first series in England since re-admission. After that England became number one in Test Cricket and South Africa showed good form before April. England's got home-advantage and will be more of a rhythm unit after the West Indies series. I'm glad this is more than a two match series, cause this will be a cracker !!! Very even contest I think.

  • neo-galactico on June 14, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    As a Saffer I can proclaim without hesitation that The Poms are definitely the favourites for the upcoming series. They have a better team holistically, whereas SA has the better and more talented personel the Poms are a better team. And the series will be held in England so they have homecourt advantage as well. But if SA play to their best they are certainly capable of surprising the Poms and winning the series, although I strongly believe that the series will end in a draw for both teams are formidable. The series deserves to be 5 tests though, damn to FTP.

  • MrGarreth on June 14, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    My biggest worry, as a Saffer, is the depth of England's batting. Im worried that could be a decider. The batting and bowling looks fairly even. You could pull points either way in terms of home conditions, experience etc. But the depth in Englands batting which often times has Swann batting at 10 worries me. South Africa may be able to rip through Englands batting order from time to time and so might England do the same to South Africa but having an 8, 9 and 10 add an extra 80 - 100 runs is so valuable. Prior is also a better number 7 than Boucher and in much better form. Tahir vs Swann is also something that could be a decider. I know most people back Swann to win that battle but I have a feeling that Tahir has been working hard and will be a danger in conditions he had previously mastered (domestically at least. Granted test cricket is a step up) and will be tough to deal with. England dont cope well against quality spin. But it will have to be quality. Cracking series ahead!

  • Hammond on June 14, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    @Joel Carter- I would be surprised to see Katich opening the batting, firstly because he isn't a UK citizen, secondly because he hasn't fulfilled his ECB qualifications, and lastly because Strauss and Cook are better opening batsman. Grow a brain.

  • dogcatcher on June 14, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    shershamir - did you even watch the England tour in SA 2009/2010? For your edification here are the results: Centurion SA418 ENG356 SA301/ 8 dec ENG228/ 9 (game draw - doesnt take a genius to figure out who was on top here) Durban SA343 Eng 574 SA133 (England thump SA by Innings and 98 runs) Capetown SA291 Eng273 SA447/7 dec Eng 296/9 (match drawn and Eng hold on just again) Match 4 Wanderers Jhb Eng180 SA423 Eng169 (England thumped by Innings and 74 runs) Series DRAWN. England would have been happy with this draw and SA disappointed. Anyone who watched will know who the better team was.Given that Smith, Kallis, DeVillierand Strauss were the only individual involved in the 2005 contest your statement holds no merit. Besides the contest is in England not SA.Alll know SA have battled to win a series on home turf and draw mainly those they should win. If we look at SA in Eng (2008) SA won 2-1 (2003) drawn.

    Going to be close I hope and not one sided!Cut the Ashes to 3 tests I say!

  • gyusuf6 on June 14, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    I guess the indians want the saffers to beat england really bad because they were humiliated by the English last year and i sincerely understand. Frankly the saffers are very good in paper but the question is will they be able to win against the english or CHOKE. I affraid they are going to choke.....

  • on June 14, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    Am i missing something, Here...Is Prior better then Ms Dhoni.. What????

  • Pablo123 on June 14, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    Killer team, simply one of the best cricket teams ever. It is really formidable in every department, there is not one weak link. Amazing, amazing, amazing, England will have to work very hard to beat them.

  • SICHO on June 14, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    @Valavan, so now you are bringing Herath in this discussion. Just a quick reminder that Herath took a 12fer against the very same batting line-up, and ooh Swann, this is the same guy that was never a threat to the Windies this past series, the same pitches that the Windies played on will be the same pitches the Saffers will play on this coming series. So if he showed no sign of trouble against Windies, what makes you so sure that he'll trouble the Saffers?

  • Potatis on June 14, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    I don't feel it will be a tight series, SA should win comfortably with that team, especially with the chance to become #1 in the series. They will play harder than England.

  • SuperSharky on June 14, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Last time around, South Africa won their first series in England since re-admission. After that England became number one in Test Cricket and South Africa showed good form before April. England's got home-advantage and will be more of a rhythm unit after the West Indies series. I'm glad this is more than a two match series, cause this will be a cracker !!! Very even contest I think.

  • neo-galactico on June 14, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    As a Saffer I can proclaim without hesitation that The Poms are definitely the favourites for the upcoming series. They have a better team holistically, whereas SA has the better and more talented personel the Poms are a better team. And the series will be held in England so they have homecourt advantage as well. But if SA play to their best they are certainly capable of surprising the Poms and winning the series, although I strongly believe that the series will end in a draw for both teams are formidable. The series deserves to be 5 tests though, damn to FTP.

  • MrGarreth on June 14, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    My biggest worry, as a Saffer, is the depth of England's batting. Im worried that could be a decider. The batting and bowling looks fairly even. You could pull points either way in terms of home conditions, experience etc. But the depth in Englands batting which often times has Swann batting at 10 worries me. South Africa may be able to rip through Englands batting order from time to time and so might England do the same to South Africa but having an 8, 9 and 10 add an extra 80 - 100 runs is so valuable. Prior is also a better number 7 than Boucher and in much better form. Tahir vs Swann is also something that could be a decider. I know most people back Swann to win that battle but I have a feeling that Tahir has been working hard and will be a danger in conditions he had previously mastered (domestically at least. Granted test cricket is a step up) and will be tough to deal with. England dont cope well against quality spin. But it will have to be quality. Cracking series ahead!

  • Hammond on June 14, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    @Joel Carter- I would be surprised to see Katich opening the batting, firstly because he isn't a UK citizen, secondly because he hasn't fulfilled his ECB qualifications, and lastly because Strauss and Cook are better opening batsman. Grow a brain.

  • dogcatcher on June 14, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    shershamir - did you even watch the England tour in SA 2009/2010? For your edification here are the results: Centurion SA418 ENG356 SA301/ 8 dec ENG228/ 9 (game draw - doesnt take a genius to figure out who was on top here) Durban SA343 Eng 574 SA133 (England thump SA by Innings and 98 runs) Capetown SA291 Eng273 SA447/7 dec Eng 296/9 (match drawn and Eng hold on just again) Match 4 Wanderers Jhb Eng180 SA423 Eng169 (England thumped by Innings and 74 runs) Series DRAWN. England would have been happy with this draw and SA disappointed. Anyone who watched will know who the better team was.Given that Smith, Kallis, DeVillierand Strauss were the only individual involved in the 2005 contest your statement holds no merit. Besides the contest is in England not SA.Alll know SA have battled to win a series on home turf and draw mainly those they should win. If we look at SA in Eng (2008) SA won 2-1 (2003) drawn.

    Going to be close I hope and not one sided!Cut the Ashes to 3 tests I say!

  • jb633 on June 14, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    I think England are overrated at present, even though I am an English fan. I do however think we are a formidable side in our own back yard. Our problems really come, when we are faced with good spin bowling on Asian surfaces. If Eng are overated then so are SA. SA lack the killer instinct to win in crunch moments, and they tend to only when games, when they are allowed to bully the opposition. The main reason I have always admired the Aus side is the way they can fight back so well. SA are good when there is little pressure on them. I think if Engalnd exert pressure then they could take the series comfortably.

  • MrBrightside92 on June 14, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    I think it is close to call..but looking a bit deeper...Petersen has had an awful time for Essex (I looked it up)...Prince has been excellent yet not in the squad...Philander has been ok...for Somerset..far inferior to Onions county stats...and regarding preparation...no cricket for ages then two warm up games...Eng having a good work out against the WI...then a probable kicking from the Ozzies in the ODIs...if SA (A) can get into the series without too much early damage (Another 97 would be good...) then they can improve...I do think the SA's will edge it...rain denying Eng a series levelling victory to make up for our 'jammy' ness in the South AFrican series...pitches need to be faster though...

  • pommy80 on June 14, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Strong team which will cause problems for England, leaving to a close contest. The build up to this series is like one of an Ashes series, only difference between this is that it actually will be a close series, not a one sided one with England winning comfortably. @RandyOz, 4 players born in South Africa is hardly a B side. Quit with the whinging.

  • Valavan on June 14, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    @SICHO, mighty saffers lost to Herath in Durban with same batting (Battling) line up in SA. what will happen if cook, trott comes to party and KP goes ballistic,swann spinning his best at OVAL. Dont underestimate ENGLAND at HOME. @Dazzling_Devil, maybe SMITH will end his captaincy by end of this series. Believe me or not, SA choke at crunch moments. cricinfo please publish.

  • Loyd4148 on June 14, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    This will be a thrilling series indeed. I would like to point out that England has a very good bowling attack but South Africa's one is just exceptional. Secondly England are CURRENTLY the number 1 rated side, but they are not the BEST in the world, as shown recently in the series against Pakistan ( 3 - 0), and a drawn series against Sri Lanka. I mean to be the BEST in the world you have to perform and win ABROAD as well, which unfortunately is not the case for England. South Africa on the other hand are a very competitive unit abroad and for them to perform against England will be no train smash! I mean the last time they toured Eng they won the series. Moving on to the batting, Smith had a wonderful tour of NZ, so did Kallis, with centuries to their names. As records show, Smith LOVES playing in Eng. Most people seem not to mention Amla, but this guy has an exceptional mental strength and will come good against Eng and I won't say anything about AB coz he's just class! #GoProteas

  • Dazzling_Devil on June 14, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    2003: Series drawn 2-2: Nasser Hussain gives up captaincy! 2008: SA wins 2-1: Captain Michael Vaughan retires! 2012: Will Graeme Smith knock over another English captain? :)

  • sherishahmir on June 14, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Hope it will be an interesting series, not the same as we were predicting at the same time of last year when India had to take on England after winning the W-cup with high note and thrashed eventually as one side affair. Whereas both teams are balanced and got some very exciting players, would be another test for England bats against Morkel, Steyn, Philander, Tsotsobe & I Tahir. I prefer England should also call Eoin Morgan in test also to strengthen their test side, he is great value in Eng batting, Eng team definately got edge over proteas as did well in south africa in their past tours, provided their players fitness remain intact.

  • AKS286 on June 14, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    Very competitive competition is coming. no doubt that the SA deadly barrage (steyn, morkel, phillander,tsotsobe, de lange ) is capable to destroy Eng's fortress. but SA is also known as chokers. main issue is the role of spinner, the world class spinner swann lost his mojo on the fast pitches. what to do playing a test match without a spinner is a joke. so swann needs one series holiday or not? tredwell as an option. bresnan must bat on the place of bairstow and bring onion/finn OR include one all-rounder may be clarke/wright or dexter. now about tahir what to do? bring van der merve or bring one fast bowling allrounder for depth.bcoz if swann is struggling on his home ground then what tahir can do. india to WI all spinners are struggling. where is mckenzie? retired or something.

  • PrajithR on June 14, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    @Nish8738, that is too much to expect.... Indian bowling including spinners like Ashwin & Ojha are below average only.... It is going to be difficult series for India.... 4-0 is totally out of question with these bowlers.

  • satish619chandar on June 14, 2012, 5:15 GMT

    If SA play their worst cricket, they will lose.. But unless they play their worst, i don't see them losing any tests..

  • on June 14, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    This is shaping up to be a very one sided match against a very overrated England team. The much hyped depth of England was completely dismantled by one Tino Best who proved that Steven Finn and Graham Onions are obviously not test level cricketers. To be competitive England needs to quickly draft a few Pakistani spinners, steal a few more SA bats and grab a few Australian fast bowlers before the first test starts. Actually, Simon Katich has spend more than 15 minutes in England and is currently playing for Hampshire. Do not be surprised to see Simon Katich opening the batting for England in the first test.

  • CricFan78 on June 14, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    SA to smash most overrated no. 1 ever.

  • jr1972 on June 14, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    Should be a fantastic series. I watched Philander in the recent New Zealand series and was mightily impressed with his medium/fast paced accuracy and ability to move the ball in the air and off the surface. He will really enjoy English conditions. SA are big favourites in my book. By the way, I am English unlike some of the other posters who have turned up only to partake in their favourite pastime, pommie-bashing. Seems like it's not just an Australian sport.

  • JustOUT on June 14, 2012, 1:48 GMT

    Well.. there are lot of key players in SA to contribute in this series.. but the most key player who can change the result is SA captain Smith.... In the last tour, he changed the Lord's match by playing an excellent, patience 2nd innings with McKenzie.. and the heroic edbagston..

  • Robster1 on June 14, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    English weather permitting a quite superb series ensues, though what a shame that no a supposed icon series of 1 v 2 is just a three match rubber - with all tickets already sold. A strong SA squad indeed although Harris unlucky to miss selection, but thankfully Tsolekile, who's patently not international class, has been omitted. Bring it on - Lord's in August will decide all.

  • Nish8738 on June 14, 2012, 0:24 GMT

    SA is well prepaired for this series. kallis,ab,steyn,philander,morkel,smith,amla oh man. they are not gona be easy to beat england watch out. just pray it rains that's all.

  • Nish8738 on June 14, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    Time to say bye bye to number 1 position england. just like the indians u proved that u can't play outside of ur comfort zone which is jus fast tracks. they won one match out of 5 in asia. now it's time for SA to beat them in their home country then india will take their revenge when eng comes to india to get a 0-4 beating. anderson and broad will be useless.

  • Deep_Point on June 14, 2012, 0:11 GMT

    I for one cannot wait - if the British weather behaves itself, we should be in for a reack cracker. I can see great merits in both sides and whilst over the last 5 years England have become VERY difficult to beat at home, I can see Philiander and Steyn getting some good use out of the English conditions - lets see if they can exhibit the same control as Broad and Anderson for long periods of time. As far as the batting is concerned - pretty even too. KP for a double ton at the Oval to set the scene?

  • Indiaforever on June 13, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    The key men for SA will be AB De Villiers, Amla and Kallis. They are the match winners in the team regarding the batting and their bowling is by far better than the English attack.

  • Pratchett on June 13, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    Travesty! 3 tests! I wonder how many of these will be affected by the weather? I see a lot of Saffer optimism in these comments, but I'm not so confident. A drawn series is on the cards. SA have the best bowling AND batting line up (c'mon! It's obvious!), but the Poms have mentality and home conditions in their favour. They also have plenty of players looking to get one over their country of birth. CAN'T WAIT!! (Tendulkar)

  • SICHO on June 13, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    Mighty poms, couldn't handle Shiv and Sarmuels, twice they pushed the score past 300(with Broad and Anderson in the attack), now the fans are getting all crazy. If they couldn't handle those two, just imagine once Kallis and Amla get together, once Smith kicks up his gear, once AB and Rudolph settle in then you'll see what SAF cricket is like. The thing is once Anderson goes haywire they follow, remember in Sri Lanka the 1st Test

  • on June 13, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    @nadeem1976 We Saffers beat England in England during our last Test tour there. So been there, done that. ODI's are a diferent story unfortunately.

  • RockcityGuy on June 13, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    SA's the underdog???really??? Guys get a grip...steyn morkel and philander are arguably the top 3 pacers in the world...and amla and AB have been the best batsmen in the world over the past 2 years...not to forget kallis...eng except for anderson and cook are an inconsistent joke....:-)

  • on June 13, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    imo, kallis is not a genuine allrounder. He is a batting allrounder at best. Just look at his stats. He hasn't bowled much and has never taken a 10 wicket haul either and has 5 or maybe 6 5 wicket hauls to his name. That's not good enough. Real allrounders like sobers,imran,hadlee, miller,botham and kapil etc had that x factor. They could win you games with bat or ball. Imo he is one of the greatest batsmen of the modern era and he's right up there with the likes of lara,tendulkar, ponting,miandad, dravid,inzimam etc. And as far as this series is concerned, i don't see england winning this one.

  • richardror on June 13, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    "With England world number 1 and leaving so many bitter opposition fans in their wake, we should always remember the indisputable facts at this point: No one would argue that: Prior is best wicketkeeper/bastman in the world by a country mile; England's batting line up just pips SA's, and England's Bowling attack is, despite the amazing Steyn and promising Philander, better than SA. This series will be all about who performs best on the day. Will be a great series to watch for cricket lovers (and the haters) all over the world, as he world's TOP 2 teams battle it out."

    @FrontFootLunge sums the series up perfectly. There are many jealous fans out there but i'm sure all will look forward to this series of the two best sides in the world. Eng vs Ind or Aus would not match.

  • vak1997 on June 13, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    both the teams have got a strong bowling unit and the conditions are favorable for either of the teams' bowlers. we just have to wait and watch how the batsmen are gonna tackle against the world class bowlers!

  • on June 13, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    Kallis tendulkar comparers please go to sleep.

  • Nadeem1976 on June 13, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    if this SA team cannot beat england in england that no SA team ever can beat england in england. This is best selected side to get the number 1 spot in test cricket. I am hoping for a great test series between #1 and #2 sides in the world.

  • on June 13, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    Sometimes people miss many things..Smith is one of the foreign batsmen to have toured England and i think if Smith,Abde do well and one more batsman in the 11 back them up i think SA will be no.1..And not to mention Kallis,he has two more innings to get a 100 at Lords and hope he gets there..That is one thing that has evaded him,Sachin and Ponting..

  • on June 13, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    all this rubbish talk of kallis vs tendulkar...get a break everyone...tendulkar is or rather was the best batsman in the world...kallis may not be the best batsman but certainly is the most valuable player a team can have...few months ago even ganguly admitted that kallis is more effective than tendulkar and ponting....kallis is a legend and is the greatest all rounder ever,if not greatest then certainly at least after sobers...as for poms vs saffers...i think saffers are gonna blow away these over rated poms...and i wont be surprised if another england captain will call it a day after this series

  • Selassie-I on June 13, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @Sehwagologist... I think that the bowling attacks are pretty matched honestly, looking at averages for the last 2 years, Philander is top with 14, then broad with 22, steyn and anderson are pretty much equal on 25, bresnan with 26 and morkel highest with about 30... all excellent averages and equalling out well, swann has the edge over tahir and I think we all know that steyn is the best of the quicks, both batting line ups are strong with a mild tendancy to collapse. Should be a great contest and I'm glad to be lucky enough to be seeing 3 days live! bowelrs win games and you can see why SA and ENG are the top 2 with these figures. I think the heavily bisased opinion might come from supporting a team with NO bowlers with sub 30 averages in the last 2 years, i'm sure you'll be having a pop at SA when they whitewash you too!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 13, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    With England world number 1 and leaving so many bitter opposition fans in their wake, we should always remember the indisputable facts at this point: No one would argue that: Prior is best wicketkeeper/bastman in the world by a country mile; England's batting line up just pips SA's, and England's Bowling attack is, despite the amazing Steyn and promising Philander, better than SA. This series will be all about who performs best on the day. Will be a great series to watch for cricket lovers (and the haters) all over the world, as he world's TOP 2 teams battle it out.

  • MrBrightside92 on June 13, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    I really think South Africa A should pick Duminy as I don't think Tahir will have much of an impact. That gives a formidable batting line up which they will need and compensate for the weaker tail...I wouldv'e had Prince in in English conditions...hasn't he been doing well and Alviro has had a shocking county stint (am I talking about the right Petersen?). I find it strange that South Africa B was able to have some warm up tests against the West Indies but South Africa A have not scheduled any? Would like to take this opportunity to thank the two South African touring teams for coming to England so us 'quality cricket starved' English fans can watch some decent test cricket! I'm supporting SA B as I like an underdog...

  • unregisteredalien on June 13, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    This (SA) really does look like the world's number 1 team to me. Please lads, avoid any psychological wobbles and make it so. As for numbers 2 and 3, I may be being parochial but I say Aust then Eng right now. Eng are more settled and plenty strong at home, but Aus are extracting a surprising amount of success out of what they've got, and unlike the poms they lose practically none of their strength when on the road.

  • Gordo85 on June 13, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    The only main concern I have is that of Robin Peterson. Don't get me wrong he isn't the worst cricketer in South Africa but he has been getting alot of a rather look in of late. He can bowl and bat which is handy but I am just not sure about his bowling in Tests even though he has done not bad in pervious tests. But I guess who else could you add if it wasn't Peterson to me it gives the other players a chance to develop but I guess it makes it hard when not lots of younger players have been playing matches fairly recently.

  • BellCurve on June 13, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    SA seems to be backtracking on the Tsolekile decision. That is good news for Quinton de Kock and Dane Vilas. One of them should take over from Boucher.

  • the_wallster on June 13, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding - are you joking? 'South Africa favourites'. Mind-boggling. We have a better spinner in Swann, and a far superior Batsman-wicket-keeper in Prior. The Best in the world in fact. And in our own playing conditions. We haven't lost a home series in 7, and 3 years. Don't be so fatuous with your remarks.

  • kasyapm on June 13, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    Wonderful team..and should be an exciting contest between the best 2 teams in the world right now.

  • ravi_hari on June 13, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Both SA and Eng are high on confidence with easy victories against lower placed teams. With the conditions favouring seamers, the real test will be how the batsmen cope with the challenge. The teams are led by Left handed openers who hold the key for their team's fortunes in the series. Strauss has just come out of his shell and Smith out of injury. Both will be tested by the persuading fast bowlers in the opposition. Steyn for SA and Anderson for Eng form the backbone of bowling and their experience will be the most sought after in a knock-out series. England have the home advantage and have a slight edge with Swann in the squad. If Tahir is picked in the 11 he will test the English batsmen but is not as big a threat as Swann. I expect a 1-1 result with the rankings remaining unchanged at the end. The biggest difference would be the average age of the teams. England looks more young and that might tilt the balance in its favour. A high voltage series one cannot afford to miss.

  • Heisenburg on June 13, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    South Africa is the best team in the world right now, best batsmen, Amla, Kallis, De'villers, best wicketkeeper and best pace bowling attack, Philander and Steyn.

  • on June 13, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    It should be a great series. It is a pity that it was reduced to 3 matches from 4. SA and England have had a great rivalry and there series rightly has an icon status.England have been great at home and both the sides are very evenly matched. However its the quality of fast bowlers both the teams have which should make this series an exciting one. And I think that Kallis can definitely break some of Sachin's test records as he is 2.5 years younger than him and has already targetted the 2015 WC.

  • wrenx on June 13, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Not sure what Tendulkar has to do with this discussion, other than to say that he flopped during his twilight tour of England. Kallis has been alarmingly consistent throughout his career, so I'd be surprised if this tour caused him any problems. Although, I hope he gets a rest for some of the ODIs - unlike England's 1-format knaves, many of the South Africans play all 3

  • on June 13, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    To all those comparing tendulkar and Kallis FYI Kallis is far better than tendulkar, because he plays all forms in cricket, I mean batting, Bowling still at 140ks, and fielding exceptionally. so please dont compare tendulkar who can bat alone to the man who knows everything in cricket....

  • AKS286 on June 13, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    steyn, morkel, philander, tsotsobe, de lange are the deadly barrage which can destroy any fortress.SA only thing is missing is a world class spinner like ajmal & swann. although swann is flop against ineligible test team i.e. WI. but swann must play. about SA instead of tahir one allrounder should play like van der merve or all rounder fast bowler.because no mercy for spinner on eng pitch. on the place of bairstow bresnan should bat so finn/onion will join the pace attack or clarke/wright should join the bairstow place.

  • on June 13, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    wonderful team of sa i think they will defenetly win test series.

  • venkatesh018 on June 13, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Except Robin Peterson and possibly Jacques Rudolph, every player selected is of the highest Test pedigree. Really, the depth of the present South African team in both bowling and batting is an envy of world cricket nations. Looking forward to a mouth-watering series.

  • SICHO on June 13, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    How in the world is Tendulkar involved in South African squad? Get a grip people we've had it with this guy. The talking point is SA beating England thats it

  • on June 13, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    No one mention Hashim Amla. He will score a hundred or two in this series. Let's show the windies and India how to play in England. To be the true no.1 you need to win in all countries not just at home.

  • Percy_Fender on June 13, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Something tells me that Bresnan's and so England's lucky cycle is over. Not a coincidence that England plays South Africa next.

  • on June 13, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    You have to mindful that IND drew against SA then were whitewashed in ENG and everybody expected IND to win 4-0. SA are likely to be favourites to win 3-0 you would think. Let's see.

  • on June 13, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    Two evenly matched sides.

  • RandyOZ on June 13, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    The strange thing is why on Earth South Africa A vs South Africa B is being held in England. Very odd.

  • kshitijheroes on June 13, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    A team with extraordinary abilities in all departments of the game but with lack of temperament.

  • on June 13, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Team of wonderful bowling strength out of 16 members squad , 10 members are competing for bowling berths in final 11 .. awesome .. Excatly opposite to India Squad

  • on June 13, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    boucher would love to complete his career on a big note....a whitewash will make south africa - the no.1 side...deserving one though !!

  • on June 13, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    Team of wonderful bowling strength out of 16 members squad , 10 members are competing for final 11 .. awesome .. Excatly opposite to India Squad

  • wibblewibble on June 13, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Bosh, another test series. Hopefully these tourists will put up more of a fight than the previous 5 touring teams to England - Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, West Indies - who won a single Test between them out of 16 played.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 13, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    A good strong Squad, looks like it could be a very competative and hopefully tight series, with SA favourites.

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on June 13, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    I expect a mauling from SA to extra over-rated if I may say to the Pommies who can only pick wickets if its swinging but finn,tremlett vs morkel,steyn vs anderson(david vs golaith I guess)broad,bresnan,onions vs de lange,philander,tsotsobe the bowling attack of SA has pace bounce swing and and and wrist spin agree tahir is still in nascent stage but nothing beats a wrist spinner in action.Batting of Sa and eng are almost at par though devillliers vs KP and smith vs strauss and kallis vs trott have lots in common I ecpect a himdinger after ashes 05 I guess say what ???

  • RandyOZ on June 13, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    With the lack of depth now exposed amongst the English bowling ranks, coupled with their house of cards batting line-up, South Africa won't need to bring a full strength squad. The hardest thing to pick about this series is not the winner, but which team is actually South Africa.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 13, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    all the best saffers . show the poms who is da boss. Just one thing: Any day of da week i would prefer marchant de lange over morkel because he gets good swing but morne is not bad either

  • jmcilhinney on June 13, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    Hopefully this will be an anticipated series that actually lives up to its billing. India in England, India in Australia and England in UAE/Pakistan all flopped as contests, but I think that this one will be a cracker. Do I have to mention Tendulkar too or can I not be pathetic?

  • on June 13, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    Yes Tendulkar has set standards for himself so that no body can touch or reach him in the game of cricket.Kudos to the greatest server of the game of cricket

  • krazzykricketer10 on June 13, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    if kallis has new hair doesnt mean he's grown younger...cant even get close to sachin!!!!!

  • quizmaster8463 on June 13, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    this team is one of the best team in tests as we have in past years and in the last 10 months they some amazing and talented bowlers . i think they r the who will challenge the England and conquer over them .philander the second fastest to take 50 wickets in tests behind turner .so best of luck proteas .in this Greame is going to play his 100 test match and mark Boucher at the end of the series will complete his 150th tests AS HE HAD EARLIER SAID THIS COULD BE HIS LAST TOUR

  • WarVdm on June 13, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    Should have taken Vilas along so he could learn the trade, tricks and some good advice from Boucher before he retires. He would have got used the bowlers and the ways of the Protea setup too.

  • on June 13, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    tendulkar is still playing not completed yet !!!!!

  • on June 13, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    mr saeed if u not forgatten tendulkar is still playing and kallis cant even touch his records

  • on June 13, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Keep it up KALLIS break all records of Tendulkar

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  • on June 13, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Keep it up KALLIS break all records of Tendulkar

  • on June 13, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    mr saeed if u not forgatten tendulkar is still playing and kallis cant even touch his records

  • on June 13, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    tendulkar is still playing not completed yet !!!!!

  • WarVdm on June 13, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    Should have taken Vilas along so he could learn the trade, tricks and some good advice from Boucher before he retires. He would have got used the bowlers and the ways of the Protea setup too.

  • quizmaster8463 on June 13, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    this team is one of the best team in tests as we have in past years and in the last 10 months they some amazing and talented bowlers . i think they r the who will challenge the England and conquer over them .philander the second fastest to take 50 wickets in tests behind turner .so best of luck proteas .in this Greame is going to play his 100 test match and mark Boucher at the end of the series will complete his 150th tests AS HE HAD EARLIER SAID THIS COULD BE HIS LAST TOUR

  • krazzykricketer10 on June 13, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    if kallis has new hair doesnt mean he's grown younger...cant even get close to sachin!!!!!

  • on June 13, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    Yes Tendulkar has set standards for himself so that no body can touch or reach him in the game of cricket.Kudos to the greatest server of the game of cricket

  • jmcilhinney on June 13, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    Hopefully this will be an anticipated series that actually lives up to its billing. India in England, India in Australia and England in UAE/Pakistan all flopped as contests, but I think that this one will be a cracker. Do I have to mention Tendulkar too or can I not be pathetic?

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 13, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    all the best saffers . show the poms who is da boss. Just one thing: Any day of da week i would prefer marchant de lange over morkel because he gets good swing but morne is not bad either

  • RandyOZ on June 13, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    With the lack of depth now exposed amongst the English bowling ranks, coupled with their house of cards batting line-up, South Africa won't need to bring a full strength squad. The hardest thing to pick about this series is not the winner, but which team is actually South Africa.