South Africa vs England – Second Test – Newlands: The four-match series between South Africa and England rolls into Cape Town this week for a fixture that has become iconic on the cricket calendar.
The New Year’s Test at Newlands is an experience unlike any other, and with the first three days already sold out, the atmosphere should be electric.
The Proteas head into the Test one-up in the series after their 107-run win at Supersport Park. That win was comfortable in the end but the hosts were made to sweat by a dangerous, if somewhat flawed England team.
Both teams have struggled to put runs on the board which means we could be in for another tense low-scoring affair.
South Africa’s ability to squeeze more runs out of their tail in the first Test proved decisive but the Newlands Test will provide a fresh challenge to struggling batsmen on both sides.
Pieter Malan is set to debut for the Proteas after injury ruled Aiden Markram out of the series. Malan plays his franchise cricket at Newlands and his experience opening the batting makes him an obvious choice to step into the void left by Markram.
Newlands has a results pitch with only five draws played out at the venue since South Africa’s readmission to international cricket. The last draw was on England’s previous visit when the track was at its absolute flattest, and Ben Stokes pulverized the Proteas bowling.
Batsmen can rest assured we are unlikely to see a repeat of the 2016 fixture with the pitch looking spicy a few days out from the toss.
The ground hosted its first Test in 1889, when England defeated South Africa by an innings and 202 runs. References to ‘The New Lands’ date back to early colonial maps in 1656 and 1661, when the Dutch settlement located on today’s Cape Town city centre literally spread out into new lands, where the current suburb of Newlands is located.
While redevelopment in the 90s saw stands replace some of the grass embankments as the stadium became a 25,000-seater, fans still pack the grassy eastern side of the ground to enjoy the shade of the oaks and a splendid view of Table Mountain behind the cricket action.
South Africa vs England – Betting tips
Misfiring top orders mean that if you’re interested in the market for highest runscorer you’ll be better off with backing middle-order stalwarts Stokes or the Proteas Quinton de Kock.
For the Proteas Dwaine Pretorius could offer good value as the leading six-hitter. The clean striker has come in in situations where his team are looking to counterattack and shown he can clear the fence with relative ease.
Conditions at Newlands should suit England allrounder Sam Curran’s bowling and he is a good pick for best bowler for the tourists.