SA vs Eng: Proteas seek redemption at Wanderers

The No. 1 Test team has gone without a win for eight matches. AB de Villiers, the newly appointed skipper needs a win not only to break the trend but also to save the four match series, which England lead 1-0.

It will be interesting to see how AB de Villers would lead South Africa in Tests.   -  Getty Images

After a crushing defeat to England in the first Test in Durban, South Africa fought valiantly to draw the second one in Cape Town. The hosts seemed to have the momentum on the final day in Cape Town and they would like to carry that on to Johannesburg for the third match of the series. There are quite a few things to look forward as the teams lock horns on Thursday.

Hashim Amla stepping down as the skipper after the second Test came as a surprise. AB de Villiers has been handed the mantle and it will be interesting to see how he would lead his team in Tests. AB leads the side in ODIs and recently won a series against Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men in India.

However, playing in whites, the No. 1 Test team have gone without a win for eight matches. The newly appointed skipper needs a win not only to break the trend but also to save the four match series.

Momentum shift

De Villiers said he felt there had been a momentum shift when South Africa fought back for a draw in the second Test in Cape Town.

“I’ve played enough series to know that a little momentum shift like that doesn’t just happen. It’s a big thing in a big series so it’s up to us to make sure that we maintain that kind of momentum.”

He said he had looked at the Wanderers pitch and although it seemed drier than usual following a drought, he expected a fair contest between bat and ball.

“That excites me because we haven’t had much of that in the past few months.”

Pacer Hardus Viljoen might debut

De Villiers said going in with four seam bowlers and no specialist spinner was an option because there were part-time spinners in the squad.

In addition, he hinted that home-town fast bowler, the strongly-built Hardus Viljoen, 26, might win his first Test cap. “He excites me quite a lot. He bowls at very good pace, has got good control and has taken 10 wickets in two matches in a row for his franchise team.”

Meanwhile, England would be licking their lips to win a Test series against South Africa in over a decade. The Proteas have never appeared as vulnerable for quite some time now and the resurgent English side will capitalise on that factor to pocket the four match series.

“It would be massive for us (to win the series), especially with the journey this team has gone on in a short space of time,” England speedster James Anderson said.

“We've shown glimpses of being a world-class team but we have also been very inconsistent. But to get a win out here, somewhere South Africa have dominated for a long period of time, and a reason why they are number one in the world, would be huge for us,” the bowler added.

Anderson last played at the Wanderers six years ago and leaked 111 runs without getting a wicket, seeing his team lose.

“Yeah, I have mixed memories here, but there are plenty of grounds around the world where I've got mixed memories,” he said.