England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's August 15, 2012

South Africa seek to finish the job

36

Match facts


Thursday, August 16
Start time 1100 (1000 GMT)

Big picture


For the second series this year, England are faced with a must-win final Test in order to preserve their No. 1 status. They managed to produce a No. 1 performance in Colombo to defeat Sri Lanka and stay top of the pile. That performance followed four consecutive defeats and, once again, England have to pull something out of the bag after less-than-ideal preparation.

Their cricket might have improved at Headingley in the second Test but any sign of improvement has been totally overshadowed by a social media ruckus. Twitter, YouTube, text messages and emails have ensured Kevin Pietersen's long-term England future has dominated the news rather than the facts of the immediate future - England have to win this Test. And without Pietersen they are without the man that took the series back to South Africa and at last put them under pressure with his 149.

South Africa might be a little miffed by the Pietersen saga too. They have come dangerously close to being dragged into the mire and few are discussing their opportunity to ascend the summit of world cricket, for which they need only a draw. They are by far the more settled of the two camps and have players in form and in confident mood. Several had injury worries after the second Test but they are now fully recovered and preparing to take South Africa to the top.

Much will depend in this match on England's ability to score enough runs. Sounds simple enough - and the totals they have achieved so far in this series would have been good enough to pressurise many teams - but England have found themselves with too few runs to play with against the depth, talent and mental strength of South Africa's line-up. Twice England have squandered positions to rack up very high scores and they cannot afford to miss their chance at Lord's, otherwise South Africa's order could swamp them once again.

Form guide


England DLDWW (Most recent first)
South Africa DWDWD

Watch out for

There is suddenly some pressure on Graeme Swann. The stock of England's premier spinner has fallen in the last year - he didn't have the devastating effect the Pakistan slow men enjoyed in the UAE and laboured for 50 fruitless overs at The Oval under suspicion of an elbow injury. He took his first first-class wicket since June last week for Nottinghamshire at Taunton. Last summer, Swann used the final Test against India at The Oval, to re-establish his claim as one of the world's best spinners by bowling his side to victory on the final day. He will be hoping for a repeat performance.

Dale Steyn endured a miserable Lord's debut on South Africa's last tour in 2008, taking 1 for 117 as England built a huge first-innings total. He will be looking for happier memories this week and will hope to add to his 10 wickets - making him the leading wicket-taker - in the series so far.

Pitch and conditions


The Olympic archery tournament was completed less than two weeks ago so it will be interesting to see how the outfield has coped with temporary stands and artificial paths. "It's not as pristine as you normally see Lord's but you've got to give credit to them for the effort they have put in," Graeme Smith said. The square was largely unaffected by the archery and with the drier weather in recent weeks than at the start of the season, a truer surface than during the West Indies Test should be found.

Team news

Pietersen's absence could be the excuse England need to play five bowlers in their search for 20 wickets - something they have been loathe to do in recent times. They used Samit Patel as a fifth bowler in Sri Lanka but you have go back to Dhaka in February 2010 for a match where five specialist bowlers were picked. Swann could replace Pietersen with Ian Bell batting at No. 4 and Matt Prior at No. 6. The tried-and-tested method, however, would be to slot Jonny Bairstow back into the side.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ian Bell, 5 James Taylor, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn

South Africa will remain unchanged, as all their injury worries, Alviro Petersen, Jacques Kallis and Smith, have recovered.

South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers (wk), 6 Jacques Rudolph, 7 JP Duminy, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir

Stats and trivia

  • In total, the teams have met 14 times at Lord's with England winning six and South Africa four.
  • England haven't beaten South Africa at Lord's since 1960 - six Tests ago - when they triumphed by an innings and 73 runs.
  • South Africa's record Test total came at Lord's in 2003 - 682 for 6 declared.
  • Andrew Strauss' 100th Test will be his 50th as captain, while Stuart Broad's 50th Test will be his 100th first-class match

Quotes

"We expect England to be England over the next five days and we just have to be better than them at it."
South Africa captain, Graeme Smith, keeps a simple outlook on the opposition.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hira1 on August 16, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney KP has also scored 152 in the match you are referring to and that was a drawn match....in any case the match is just an hour away and we all will come to know in few days time where Strauss man stand without KP.......since English team is repeatedly pursuing that they are better off without KP so they need to prove it else they keep their mouth shut, we all knew what they are capable of and time will prove as well

  • JG2704 on August 16, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @TahirMahmood on (August 16 2012, 06:44 AM GMT) Right now the score is 1-0 and the 3rd test has not started. While I feel that the stats (if Eng start with the 6/1/4 formation) hugely favour a positive result for SA - How do you work out that it is nearly 2-0 when the test hasn't started?

  • JG2704 on August 16, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @Warren Mendes on (August 15 2012, 22:41 PM GMT) This is about a difficult , complex person and nothing to do with his origin. As I put elsewhere we've had no issues with Trott whatsoever - or not read of any

  • i_witnessed_2011 on August 16, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    @Disco_Bob: Well Said!! You have nicely summarized the reason for whole KP Saga!

  • jmcilhinney on August 16, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    @Hira1 on (August 16 2012, 06:06 AM GMT), so Bell's 199 against the same opposition at the same venue on their last visit doesn't count as a long innings in these conditions?

  • cric_fan_ on August 16, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    if you compare SA's performance in this series with their recent performances, you'd see they've improved. Here they annihilated Eng, better than what they usually do in the 1st test of a series, which is winning convincingly. In the second test they usually crumble inexplicably but here they secured an even draw, again a better than usual performance. SA usually wins or draws 3rd test of a series, extrapolating this trend to the 3rd test would mean they've better than usual chance of winning against Eng in this test, of course weather permitting as it's Eng we're talking about.

  • TahirMahmood on August 16, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    @mattyP1979. England is very near to 2-0 defeat and you r still thinking about tie of series. There is very very less chance of 1-1. Because most probably 1-0 or 2-0

  • suprabadh on August 16, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    WISHING SOUTH AFRICA THE VERY BEST TO SCALE NUMBER ONE POSITION.

  • Hira1 on August 16, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    except for Cook there is no single player in the english camp able to play long innings in this condition, the bowlers look very weak against SA batsman so whether england choose bresnan over Bairstow or Bairstow over Brensna it doesn't matter, they both are good for nothing......england is surely going to loose its just KP fans are hoping the loss seems obvious in these 2 days in order for KP to be selected in T20 competition

  • on August 16, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    Although Jacques Rudolph did OK in the last test, I would favour Faf du Plessis in his place. he's a better fielder and can also bowl a few.

  • Hira1 on August 16, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney KP has also scored 152 in the match you are referring to and that was a drawn match....in any case the match is just an hour away and we all will come to know in few days time where Strauss man stand without KP.......since English team is repeatedly pursuing that they are better off without KP so they need to prove it else they keep their mouth shut, we all knew what they are capable of and time will prove as well

  • JG2704 on August 16, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @TahirMahmood on (August 16 2012, 06:44 AM GMT) Right now the score is 1-0 and the 3rd test has not started. While I feel that the stats (if Eng start with the 6/1/4 formation) hugely favour a positive result for SA - How do you work out that it is nearly 2-0 when the test hasn't started?

  • JG2704 on August 16, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @Warren Mendes on (August 15 2012, 22:41 PM GMT) This is about a difficult , complex person and nothing to do with his origin. As I put elsewhere we've had no issues with Trott whatsoever - or not read of any

  • i_witnessed_2011 on August 16, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    @Disco_Bob: Well Said!! You have nicely summarized the reason for whole KP Saga!

  • jmcilhinney on August 16, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    @Hira1 on (August 16 2012, 06:06 AM GMT), so Bell's 199 against the same opposition at the same venue on their last visit doesn't count as a long innings in these conditions?

  • cric_fan_ on August 16, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    if you compare SA's performance in this series with their recent performances, you'd see they've improved. Here they annihilated Eng, better than what they usually do in the 1st test of a series, which is winning convincingly. In the second test they usually crumble inexplicably but here they secured an even draw, again a better than usual performance. SA usually wins or draws 3rd test of a series, extrapolating this trend to the 3rd test would mean they've better than usual chance of winning against Eng in this test, of course weather permitting as it's Eng we're talking about.

  • TahirMahmood on August 16, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    @mattyP1979. England is very near to 2-0 defeat and you r still thinking about tie of series. There is very very less chance of 1-1. Because most probably 1-0 or 2-0

  • suprabadh on August 16, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    WISHING SOUTH AFRICA THE VERY BEST TO SCALE NUMBER ONE POSITION.

  • Hira1 on August 16, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    except for Cook there is no single player in the english camp able to play long innings in this condition, the bowlers look very weak against SA batsman so whether england choose bresnan over Bairstow or Bairstow over Brensna it doesn't matter, they both are good for nothing......england is surely going to loose its just KP fans are hoping the loss seems obvious in these 2 days in order for KP to be selected in T20 competition

  • on August 16, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    Although Jacques Rudolph did OK in the last test, I would favour Faf du Plessis in his place. he's a better fielder and can also bowl a few.

  • MeijiMura on August 16, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    Although England are better off without Bresnan in the line-up their batting looks decidely shaky with experienced batsmen at the top of the order out of form and two inexperienced batsmen in the line-up to boot. Add to that the poor form of Swann and the suspect temperament of Broad when things don't go his way, and England have it all to do against a strong South African batting line-up full of world-class batsmen and the world's best bowler in Steyn, all of whom have proved a class above and beyond England in the series thus far.

  • disco_bob on August 16, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @wiseshah "i think Kp's problem is he thinks he is better than everybody in the team." The team's problem is that they know he is.

  • satish619chandar on August 16, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    SA will be very strong favorites but the game is not decided on voting by fans or by favorite tag.. England have lots of pride to save and both teams will start at 0-0 when the game begins.. So no question of any advantage.. Exciting match on the cards.. Awaiting on the information on the track..

  • Brenton1 on August 16, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Would it not be the ultimate psychological victory for England if England bat first and KP comes in at number 4 revealing that the whole ENG/KP standoff was just a decoy. That would be legendary. I would pay the full admission price for the full 5 days to see that.

  • jmcilhinney on August 16, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    @MattyP1979 on (August 16 2012, 03:26 AM GMT), I still believe that England can win this game but I would not be putting money on it. The teams looked fairly even in game 2 and England could have won with better catching and/or better weather. Of course, SA could have won too. That's what I expected of the series before it began. People may say that England were very reliant on KP but SA were even more reliant on AP. SA were dominant in game 1 but certainly not in game 2. Some people want to assume that this game will be more like game 1 without any specific evidence. If SA play like they did in game 2 and England are at their best then it will be an England win. Will those two things happen? Only time will tell but at least the weather forecast looks good so the result is up to the two teams.

  • jmcilhinney on August 16, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    @ landl47 on (August 16 2012, 01:00 AM GMT), I agree re Woakes. It seemed like England were sweating on Stokes for a while because they wanted an allrounder yet they seem determined to ignore Woakes. His batting is much improved and, while not a spearhead, he is a genuine bowler. I'd also be in favour of playing Woakes over Bairstow and batting him at #7. As that's obviously not going to happen, I can't see that they won't play both Taylor and Bairstow, with the only question being their positions. As I said before, I can't see any real advantage to batting them at #5 and #7 rather than #5 and #6.

  • MattyP1979 on August 16, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    My money is still on Eng to tie the series. It was from the start and it still is. There is a fag paper between these 2 sides under most conditions and although on paper SA seem to be the better side Eng have a knack of pulling it out of the bag. Cmon Eng.

  • vrn59 on August 16, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    Although I'm gunning for a SA win here, I wouldn't take the risk of underestimating England. They have a good record at Lord's and although their batting lineup has been weakened by Kevin Pietersen's absence, they still have some excellent players who are capable to winning this Test. However, it is now time for SA to finally see things all the way through and win, or in the worst case, draw this match to be the new No. 1 team!

  • Chris_P on August 16, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    About the only thing missing in the pre game write-up is a reference to the numerous past opportunities the Boks have had to seize #1 by winning the test. A mission that they have failed to accomplish in a number of attempts. That said, every time they lose a crucial game brings them one game closer to the time they will achieve it. Can this be the time for them? I hope Wombats is recuperating well, all the best if you're reading, maybe your lads will give you something to smile about.

  • jmcilhinney on August 16, 2012, 1:18 GMT

    Whether or not I agree with it in any particular situation, I can see the logic of a 5:1:5 formation. When England have scored runs the top 5 have scored runs and there's never really been an occasion where the #6 has come to the rescue, while having a 5th bowler could help keep all bowlers fresher and provide variety that may help take more wickets. That is built on the premise that KP was one of the top 5 scoring runs though. With him out of the team and two new batsmen in who were both previously candidates for the #6 spot, the equation changes. If you go 5:1:5 now you have only 4 proven batsmen and one that you would previously have been assuming would not make a significant contribution. That sounds like a risk to me. As for the bowlers, they did enough in the last game to take 20 wickets and win the game. If we assume that Swann will do at least as well as KP did and England will hold their catches, 4 bowlers should be enough.

  • jmcilhinney on August 16, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    I don't really see the point in separating Taylor and Bairstow in the batting order. Let's say that Taylor is at #5 and Bairstow is at #6. If Taylor is in with someone else then it's just as likely to be Taylor who goes as the other batsman, in which case Taylor and Bairstow won't bat together. If they have Prior between them and he is batting with Taylor, it's just as likely to be Prior who goes and then Taylor and Bairstow bat together anyway.

  • jmcilhinney on August 16, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    @Warren Mendes on (August 15 2012, 22:41 PM GMT), that seems to be a fairly nonsensical comment. It's not playing South Africans against SA that's the problem. It's just KP right now. I'm not saying that KP should shoulder all the blame because there are others who maybe could have handled certain things better but KP has played SA before and there was no issue. Trott is playing SA now and we haven't heard a peep out of him. For those fools who want to consider Strauss and Prior South African despite the fact that their parents emigrated when they were children, we haven't heard a peep out of them either. This is all about KP and, other than maybe the text messages to friends in the SA team, nothing would be different if they were playing someone else. That's the same KP who has previously fallen out with Natal, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire and Peter Moores when KP was stripped of the England captaincy. Whatever else, he's obviously not easy to deal with.

  • landl47 on August 16, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    I would favor playing 5 bowlers if the fifth bowler was Woakes, who bats like a genuine #7. I can't see Bresnan at #7. I think the probable England team listed above will be the actual England team. South Africa must be the favourites going into the game; the only downside for them is that they've been the favourites before and haven't come through. It is hard, though, to see them coughng this one up. @Rolling_in_the_Deep: yes, it's possible, although it would take 4 years for him to qualify if he started now so he'd be 36 by the time he played for SA. I can't see it happening; his family doesn't seem too keen on him giving up his England place. As for him 'getting the treatment'- all the treatment has been coming from him. He has initiated every problem he has had. Everyone else was very happy to see him playing for England- until he started wanting preferential treatment and acting like a spoiled child when he didn't get it.

  • on August 15, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    Playing South Africana again South Africans was never a brilliant move on the part of England, and now they will pay the price. I am English, but I hope that England lose this one. The ECB need to learn a lesson.

  • JG2704 on August 15, 2012, 21:37 GMT

    Baundele on (August 15 2012, 16:46 PM GMT) Surely you mean SA need to lose. If they draw they become number 1

  • JG2704 on August 15, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 15 2012, 20:44 PM GMT) As I put in another post to you , there was talk of Prior in at 6 , JB at 7. Re my 5/1/5 idea - it has criticism from some folk in that the 5th bowler is a luxury position. If that is the case then what is a batsman who can't bowl coming in at 7 - esp when we need to bowl SA out twice?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 15, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Wasn't there talk of the two new England rookies being separated? I suppose it hardly matters as this is only an issue if they have to come out together in close precession to bat. Prior should come out at 6 IMO if this is indeed the case. Big game for Swann indeed... Hope to see him in that pose in the photo there with successful appeals, as apposed to just shouting at a guy in the audience for throwing something at his leg...

  • Shafaet_001 on August 15, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    @Baundele: Really a classic one.

  • cbaunni on August 15, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK. Great Idea. It can even be placed above Pictch and conditions for games in England.

  • Partyman on August 15, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    @Baundele - Among the gibberish written in the comments section regarding the saga, your's stood out as a gem! I laughed out so loud. Funny as it is, there is certainly an element of truth!!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 15, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    @Alex Winter: I was wondering if you could put the 'expected weather forecast' in game previews? Perhaps with/near 'Pitch and conditions'... I know it only takes a click to go and look ourselves, but hey, just a thought. We've all seen how this can be a big deciding factor, particularly here in UK...

  • wiseshah on August 15, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    i think Kp's problem is he thinks he is better than everybody in the team. his ego problem is ruining his career

  • Rolling_in_The_Deep on August 15, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    Is it possible that KP can play for South Africa sometime in future after getting this treatment from ECB and his team mates.. it would be fun to watch when he emerges in SA colors against the likes of Broad and Swann ..

  • on August 15, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    How we bat in our 1st innings will decide if we'll be number 1 or not.. We need to get a big total on the board, 450+... I have complete confidence in the guys' ability to get the job done.. GO SA. PURE PROTEA

  • on August 15, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    The England probable (batting) line-up looks weak all a sudden. I hope SA wins easily. Get it done and dusted in four days with an innings to spare...

  • Baundele on August 15, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    South Africa can permanently put KP out of the England squad. They just need to draw or lose the test to England.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Baundele on August 15, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    South Africa can permanently put KP out of the England squad. They just need to draw or lose the test to England.

  • on August 15, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    The England probable (batting) line-up looks weak all a sudden. I hope SA wins easily. Get it done and dusted in four days with an innings to spare...

  • on August 15, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    How we bat in our 1st innings will decide if we'll be number 1 or not.. We need to get a big total on the board, 450+... I have complete confidence in the guys' ability to get the job done.. GO SA. PURE PROTEA

  • Rolling_in_The_Deep on August 15, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    Is it possible that KP can play for South Africa sometime in future after getting this treatment from ECB and his team mates.. it would be fun to watch when he emerges in SA colors against the likes of Broad and Swann ..

  • wiseshah on August 15, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    i think Kp's problem is he thinks he is better than everybody in the team. his ego problem is ruining his career

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 15, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    @Alex Winter: I was wondering if you could put the 'expected weather forecast' in game previews? Perhaps with/near 'Pitch and conditions'... I know it only takes a click to go and look ourselves, but hey, just a thought. We've all seen how this can be a big deciding factor, particularly here in UK...

  • Partyman on August 15, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    @Baundele - Among the gibberish written in the comments section regarding the saga, your's stood out as a gem! I laughed out so loud. Funny as it is, there is certainly an element of truth!!

  • cbaunni on August 15, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK. Great Idea. It can even be placed above Pictch and conditions for games in England.

  • Shafaet_001 on August 15, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    @Baundele: Really a classic one.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 15, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Wasn't there talk of the two new England rookies being separated? I suppose it hardly matters as this is only an issue if they have to come out together in close precession to bat. Prior should come out at 6 IMO if this is indeed the case. Big game for Swann indeed... Hope to see him in that pose in the photo there with successful appeals, as apposed to just shouting at a guy in the audience for throwing something at his leg...