England v South Africa: first Test, day one – live!

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The Guardian

Key events

Howsit. Sanibonani. Molweni. Dumelang. Welcome.

There’s a buzz in the air. A visceral vibration that has been building for some time now. An unstoppable force meets, well, another unstoppable force. It’s the Bazball batting brouhaha against the bristling Bouchball bowling attack. Two former wicketkeepers turned bullish coaches and their equally fiery skippers collide for three Tests that have all the ingredients of a blockbuster occasion.

Ben Stokes thinks that the Saffas have already lost the battle of wits, but his counterpart, Dean Elgar, says he isn’t bothered by the noise.

England have preemptively named their team, with Ben Foakes retaining the gloves in place of Sam Billings. And why not? There’s a surge of confidence coursing through this red ball side after the dismantling of New Zealand and India earlier in the simmer.

South Africa are sitting tight on Kagiso Rabada’s fitness (he should be fine, though) and will be desperate to underline their current position at the top of the World Test Championship table. Their come from behind series win over India at the start of the year was no fluke. There are some serious cricketers in this resurgent outfit.

I genuinely have no idea which way this will go. I know we’ll get some rain interruptions at various stages throughout this opening day but the way these teams press down on the fast forward button, that will merely delay the inevitable crescendo.

My name is Daniel, but you can call me Dan if you like. Do get in touch throughout my stint. I literally cannot wait for this. I hope you’re as excited as I am. Will catch you in half an hour with toss and team updates.

August 17, 2022 at 03:04PM Daniel Gallan (now) and Tim de Lisle (later)

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