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Tuesday, Jan 26th

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Vernon Philander and Chris Morris fully justified the Standard Bank Proteas decision to balance their side with two bowling all-rounders rather than the extra specialist batsman on the opening day of the second Test match against England at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Friday.

After Faf du Plessis had won the toss and taken the courageous yet correct decision to bat first under overcast skies the Proteas were set up for a big total by the 113-run partnership for the third wicket between Hashim Amla and their new No. 4 Quinton de Kock.

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The England Learning Disability side maintained their unbeaten run in the INAS Tri-Series supported by NatWest after a nail-biting three wicket victory over Australia.

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The Proteas will need to draw on their experiences in previous difficult situations to bounce back in the second Test against England starting at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Friday. Captain, Faf du Plessis, says the match will be a ‘ big character test’ given some of the off and on-field challenges the squad has faced this week.

Du Plessis’ return after missing the first Test adds invaluable experience and temperament to the batting line-up to go with his presence and intensity as the leader of the pack. One of his strengths as captain has been his ability to lead from the front, a characteristic that has shone through during challenging periods he has faced throughout his tenure.

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The England Learning Disability side have qualified for the 40 over final of the INAS Tri-Series supported by NatWest after a 224 run victory over South Africa. After England posted an imposing total of 316-3 South Africa could only muster 92 in reply.

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South Africa will have little time to lick their wounds following the 211-run loss to England in the first Test match at Lord’s, as the focus quickly shifts to Nottingham ahead of the second Test starting at Trent Bridge on Friday. Proteas paceman, Morne Morkel, says the preparation for the quick turnaround of matches will focus on perfecting their disciplines- which were the glaring disappointment in the first match- and channelling their energy towards a series-levelling performance.

“We had two days in London to get over it (the loss),” he said to the media at Trent Bridge on Wednesday. "Once we got on the bus to Nottingham yesterday it was important for us to leave that behind and look forward to Friday. It’s a quick turnaround, we have two training sessions, and it’s important for us as individuals to work out what we want to achieve in these two days. 

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Moeen Ali has received a rankings boost in the ICC Test Player Rankings following a player of the match performance in the Lord’s Test in which England defeated South Africa by 211 runs to go 1-0 up in the four-match series.

Ali contributed 87 and seven with the bat and bagged four for 59 and six for 53 with the red cherry as England romped to victory with more than a day to spare. 

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Proteas stand-in captain, Dean Elgar, says the squad will need to be a lot more ‘ruthless’ with their basic disciplines- which he feels was the disappointment- in the 211-run loss to England in the first Test match at Lord’s on Sunday. A dejected Elgar lamented the missed opportunities throughout the four days of cricket, which highlighted a below-par performance in the field.

He gave credit to the bowlers, who brought the team back into the match with a lethal performance with the ball on the fourth morning, taking the last nine wicket for 114 runs to set up a difficult but gettable target of 331 for victory.

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