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Preview: A buoyant South Africa will seek to drive home their advantage at a favourite venue as they host an England side facing a big selection question in the second Test of the four-match series starting at Newlands on Friday.
The home team ended a run of five straight defeats with a commanding 107-run victory in the first Test in Pretoria as the winds of change through their camp, on and off the pitch, brought immediate success.
Coach Mark Boucher appears to have brought some steel back to the squad as they subdued an England side battling with illness and which has recently struggled to pick up wins on the road.
South African opener Aiden Markram is definitely out with a finger injury and that should mean a debut for Pieter Malan, 30, at his home ground in what is an iconic Test on the fixture list which could see as many as 10,000 England fans in attendance.
South Africa must also decide whether to accommodate a fit-again Temba Bavuma in the middle-order, with his replacement Rassie van der Dussen scoring a second-innings half-century on debut in Pretoria.
England, on the other hand, faced a double injury blow ahead of the second Test as Rory Burns and Jofra Archer were declared doubtful for Friday’s start at Newlands.
Burns joined Archer on the sidelines after injuring his left ankle warming up before Thursday’s practice in a kickabout with a football.
Burns’ misfortune comes after Archer pulled out of bowling practice on Wednesday despite earlier batting and fielding with the rest of the team .
“It was quite disappointing to see him pull up like that and now we’ll just have to make another late call,” captain Joe Root said of Archer’s injury on Thursday.
England have not won at Newlands since 1957, though their last two visits in 2010 and 2016 ended in draws.
It is a traditional stronghold for South Africa, who have lost only one of their previous 18 Tests at the venue, picking up 13 wins in that time.
The illness that spread through the tourist’s squad in the build-up to, and during, the first Test appears to have eased, providing them with more options.
The wicket in Cape Town is expected to be less seamer-friendly than the first Test, which could mean the introduction of a specialist spin option, with Dominic Bess or Matt Parkinson in contention. Left-arm spinner Jack Leach still has a fitness question-mark hanging over him, which could mean Bess gets a run.
With inputs from Reuters
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