Joe Root marathon knock of 184 revives England hopes

Posted July 09, 2017

South Africa, on top after a morning session in which they claimed four wickets, contributed generously to Root's cause.

Trevor Bayliss, too, says he wants his No 3 to be an attacking player and Root batting there would fit in with the positive way England want to play.

"The more you can create that environment where they are able to enjoy it, the more relaxed they are and generally the better they play. It is an wonderful opportunity and privilege being England captain and wanted to go out and enjoy it", he said.

Bavuma, who became the first black South African to score a Test hundred during England's visit in 2015-16, was quietly impressive during a chanceless innings.

He has ultimate confidence in his own ability.

"But I look at his game now, as do the other selectors, and he is a completely different player".

He knows exactly where the gaps in the field are. It looked that way during the first half of his innings, but still his hundred came off just 150 balls. Genuine cricketing nous and batting acumen.

England is always a strong team at home.

England careened past 400 as Broad flashed and dashed with all the control of a man trying to bat on a skateboard.

ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison says the ECB's new landmark deal with Sky will help to build and grow cricket.

There were no thoughts of captaincy when he got to the crease.

But his captain's desire to move to his more natural position at four has put Ballance in an unfamiliar position at first drop for all that his statistics at three in Tests are better than elsewhere by a considerable margin (49.54 at three compared to 18.76 in the middle order). It's easy to forget that he's playing in his 54th Test match, more than Donald Bradman ever played. You want to set the example - a message to the guys - and show you are willing to do it yourself. Philander troubled batsmen all day long with his probing seamers and he will be a handful in the English conditions through the course of the four Tests.

But from the word go, you could tell the confidence was there early on.

The Proteas bowlers will have to be on the dot from the start after England won the toss and chose to bat first in the first Test at Lord's on Thursday.

"I don't think he has captained me in a tour game or anything, so I am excited for him and I am sure he is looking forward to getting going".

England cricket director and former captain Andrew Strauss is also confident Ballance can make the most of his opportunity. He freed up as a character.

Elgar has no captaincy experience at worldwide level and the sudden change won't help a South African team experiencing a mini-decline, and under pressure.

South Africa boast a remarkable record of having lost only one away Test series in 10 years.