The Proteas and England both enter unchartered waters in the first Test as new skippers lead the respective sides. Who will emerge victorious?
Dean Elgar has been thrust into the captaincy role after Faf du Plessis withdrew from the Lord’s encounter to be with his family after the birth of his first child.
Elgar led the Proteas in their warm-up match against the England Lions, though a Lord’s Test match is an entirely different kettle of fish.
Nevertheless, Russell Domingo expressed his excitement at Elgar’s opportunity to lead the team.
Elgar’s fighting spirit at the top of the order may well energise the team and spur the Proteas on to an opening win in the four-match series.
Meanwhile, Root succeeded Alastair Cook as England captain in February, but will wear the captain’s armband for the first time against the visitors.
England players past and present have shown their support for the England No 3, with Andrew Flintoff believing Root will take the added responsibility in his stride.
England seamer Stuart Broad was equally complimentary in his assessment of Root’s prospects as captain.
‘Joe’s not had a huge amount of captaincy experience because he played for England from a young age, but because he’s learned the game at the top level,’ Broad told Sky Sports News at Lord’s on Tuesday.
Furthermore, Broad tips Root to acquit himself well under the added pressure that comes with the captaincy.
‘I think it will take his game to the next level, if he can go any higher. He’ll really thrive off the extra responsibility,’ he added.
Broad also feels that Root’s attacking nature as a batsman will translate into an attacking approach to captaincy.
‘He’s an attacking cricketer, quite aggressive in the way he plays, so I think the team will take that sort of shape. He was announced a long time ago, and now he has the chance to put things into place,’ remarked the 102-Test veteran.
Root will hope that captaincy allows him to build on a Test record boasting 27 fifties and 11 centuries at an average of 52.80.
The first Test begins at Lord’s on Thursday.
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