Following a 1-0 series defeat in what was a small token revenge for the New Zealander’s after the dramatic World Cup Final in July – England now turn their attentions towards South Africa as they embark upon a four test series commencing on Boxing day.
The two test series in New Zealand had left England scratching their heads as much afterwards as before they’d departed almost a month ago.
The dead pitches, especially in the second test which finished a draw, left little for England to assess their bowlers upon, while there were positive glimmers in the form of captain Root’s outstanding double ton as well as runs for Rory Burns and Ollie Pope providing hints at the future of English cricket.
If anything was to summise this series, it was to be Joe Denly’s absolute howler in the field as he managed to spill wat may well prove to be one of the easiest catches in Test Cricket history.
Archer had confused Kane Williamson with an altered delivery not offering any front arm, Williamson chipped the delivery to Denly who was fielding at extra-cover and somehow managed to fumble the opportunity.
While laughter took over the commentary box and most of the English players, looking on in disbelief, it was not the same for Denly who spent the next hour and half in the field with a face like thunder – and with that came the rain and the end to the series.
James Anderson, Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow have all been recalled to England’s side to travel to South Africa for the four match Test series – beginning on the 26th of December.
The trio have all been missing for England for different reasons.
Jonny Bairstow was dropped for the 1-0 series defeat to New Zealand, following a fairly poor run of form with the bat in the Ashes series this summer.
James Anderson has been missing from the England setup, and quite notably, since the first test match against Australia this summer where he was taken off due to a calf injury and not seen since.
Fellow pace bowler Mark Wood has had his own troubles with injuries, with various side and knee problems keeping him out of the England squad since the World Cup final in July.
Wood, who has not played a Test match since Febraury, is not expected to be featuring in the first test match, according to Ed Smith, England selector.
“It is not predicted that Mark will be available for selection for the earliest matches,” said Smith.
“There is no exact date given for his return, but the medical team is working towards him becoming fully available for selection during the tour.”
Moeen Ali, who took a break from Test cricket, remains unavailable.
Only Saqib Mahmood, currently uncapped, is to be missing from the pack who toured New Zealand and the 17-strong squad heading to South Africa.
The England Squad to tour South Africa is as follows:
Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope (wk), Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
- First Test: 26th December-30th December, Centurion
- Second Test: 3rd January – 7th January, Cape Town
- Third Test: 16th January – 20th January, Port Elizabeth
- Fourth Test: 24th January – 28th January, Johannesburg
One Day Internationals
- 4th February, Cape Town
- 7th February, Durban
- 9th February, Johannesburg
- 12th February, East London
- 14th February, Durban
- 16th February, Centurion