South Africa vs England: Joe Root and Co look to end 63-year-old hoodoo in Cape Town
England will look to end their age-old drought when they take on South Africa in the second Test of four-match series at Newlands in Cape Town. ‘The Three Lions’ were thrashed by 107 runs in the opening Test and will be hopeful of a better show in the upcoming contest. However, things aren’t going to be easy for them as they are on the wrong side of both form and history.
England last tasted success in Cape Town when there used to be eight deliveries in one over. In the year 1957, Colin Cowdrey starred with the bat in both the innings as England thrashed Proteas by 312 runs. Since then, England haven’t come close to tasting success at this picturesque venue.
Not just against England but South Africa hold an impeccable record against almost every Test playing nation at this venue. They have not lost at Newlands since their defeat at the hands of Australia in 1962.
In the last meeting between the two teams in 2016, Ben Stokes thrashed 258 off 198 balls in a brutal display of power hitting, collecting 11 sixes and sharing in a world record sixth wicket partnership of 399 with Jonny Bairstow (150 off 191 deliveries).
England went into that match 1-0 up in a four-Test series which they went on to win. This time they are the team needing to catch up after losing the opening encounter in Centurion.
South Africa were captained by Hashim Amla, who effectively acknowledged his lack of aptitude for the job by resigning from it after the match despite making a double century of his own to ensure a high-scoring draw.
On this occasion it is England’s captain, Joe Root, who is under pressure because of his team’s poor recent record away from home.
Newlands in 2016 provided an unusually benign pitch for batsmen, with both teams scoring over 600 in a first innings which only ended late on the fourth day.
It is the only one of the most recent 11 Test matches at Newlands, going back to 2011, to have ended in a draw. South Africa have won nine of the other ten, losing once. Totals over 400 have been rare, with only four instances other than the 2016 run feast.
There is a new groundsman but it seems reasonable to expect a fair contest between bat and ball this time around.
((With AFP inputs))