5 talking points ahead of England's second Test against South Africa

13 July 2017 12:09

England will be hoping to capitalise on their 211-run Lord's victory when they take on South Africa in the second Investec Test at Trent Bridge.

Here, Press Association Sport identifies some of the talking points:


Whoever is in charge, England's captain and their record-breaking runscorer clearly get on just fine. Chummy in the slips, Alastair Cook reports he is happy to give advice and will not be offended if Joe Root does the opposite. There is plenty of Test nous elsewhere too in an experienced line-up, and the early signs are promising that Root may have taken over at a very handy time.


Moeen Ali, the bowler, would doubtless love to have brought last week's Lord's pitch up the M1 with him. He considers himself a batsman who bowls a bit, and England are happy to indulge him a little on that to try to get the best out of him. The off-spinner clearly had conditions very much in his favour in the first Test but made the most of them for his match-winning career-best figures. At 30, he is bowling as well if not better than ever. He's not a bad batter either .


Little has gone right all summer for South Africa, and one of the biggest blows is the absence here of Kagiso Rabada - serving his controversial one-match ban for swearing after dismissing Ben Stokes at Lord's. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the episode, the reality is that the tourists are sure to miss him badly. Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander are two pedigree Test seamers, but without Rabada it may be a stretch to take 20 wickets.


England have great memories of their last Test visit to Nottingham, the innings win that clinched the 2015 Ashes. Seven of the current team were in the one that beat Australia - and since then several, including captain Root, were in action too for last year's exhilarating tied one-day international against Sri Lanka and the record-breaking win over Pakistan. Recent experience clearly gives England a feelgood factor at this venue.


If South Africa need a lift they should get one from returning captain Faf du Plessis. He arrived at Lord's, after the birth of his first child, only in time to see them slide to a dispiriting defeat on a remarkable fourth day which saw 19 wickets fall. It is asking a lot for him to instantly galvanise players whose confidence must have been dented. But Du Plessis is renowned as a tough competitor and, having celebrated his 33rd birthday on the eve of this match, also brings a Test batting average of almost 45 to the party.

Source: PA