With the white ball leg of South Africa’s tour to the United Kingdom now done and dusted, the Proteas will shift their focus to the longest format of the game. The Proteas will take on England in a three-match Test series starting at Lord’s in London on Wednesday.
South Africa has enjoyed decent success at the home of cricket, the illustrious Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. They won their first Test against England after re-admission in July 1994 recording an emphatic 356 run victory.
They drew the game there in 2008 when South African coach Mark Boucher was still a wicket-keeper batsman, but went on to claim the series 2-1.
Their most recent victory came in August 2012, where their 51 run victory in the third and final Test saw them take a 2-nil series win.
This relatively new Proteas side will obviously look to emulate their predecessors by embracing the occasion rather than being overcome by it.
“I don’t see it as something negative, it’s a great environment to play at, home of cricket, special place to play cricket and this is where legends are made. You walk into the changeroom and see all the names on the board so many stories around the performances so it shouldn’t be a fear factor. It’s about us as coaches to give guys certain tools to deal with the pressure and the emotions they feel you can’t hide from that, it’s a great feeling especially if you can overcome that and do well,” says Boucher.
South Africa and England shared the spoils in the three match One Day series drawing it one game apiece while the Proteas bounced back in the T20 series, winning it 2-1.
Despite jumping from seventh on the Test rankings to the top of the World Test Championship points table, the Proteas haven’t had much red ball practice ahead of the opening Test, having had just one four day game against the English Lions where they lost by an innings and 56 runs last week.
“The warm up game we have played in Canterbury was just that a warm up game for us. We had certain things we wanted to get out of the game, the result didn’t go our way which is never great losing. We are not looking too much in the way that they play it’s more about focusing on what we need to do to get ready for a Test series. We lost the first game against the Lions in the one day stuff as well and we came out pretty good after that so hopefully it’s a good omen for us and we can turn things around,” Boucher explains.
The first Test gets under way at midday South African time.