The runs Graeme Smith needs to have scored the most runs in England for South Africa. Similarly, 8 is the number of runs that Kevin Pietersen trails Andrew Strauss by for the most runs in England by a South African.
Vernon Philander’s bowling average in the County Championship. Graeme Swann averages almost 10 higher at 33.15.
74.16 & 74.03
The combined batting averages of South Africa and England respectively after batsmen make 20, the best in the world by quite a margin. Getting batsmen out early is going to be vital for both sides.
Five Players to Watch
Alastair Cook – England’s captain in waiting is currently on course to break every single English batting record, and quite possibly, some of Sachin Tendulkar’s, too. Though less ostentatious than your average sportsman, Cook opens the batting in a World XI Test side, and is arguably the best leaver of the ball in cricket.
Kevin Pietersen – KP™ is in the form of his life and is never more dangerous when he feels the world is against him. The stage is set for ‘The Ego’ and there will be more attention on the maverick middle batsman than any other player this week at The Oval. Just the way he likes it.
Ian Bell – The Duke of Bellington averages 61.2 in 31 Tests since his 2009 recall and with no Saeed Ajmal around the man once dubbed ‘The Sherminator’ is full of confidence. An intriguing side battle with Amla for the most aesthetically pleasing batsman of the series.
Jacques Kallis – Having reached the pinnacle of sports by winning the IPL this year, it could well be argued that Kallis has nothing left to prove. However, the Cape Town native has consistently struggled in England over the course of his stellar career, averaging 29.30 over 12 Tests. On South Africa’s last tour of England in 2008 he averaged just 14.85 over 7 innings. Approaching 37 (in both age and waist size), this tour will be a significant test of a great cricketer.
AB de Villiers – South Africa’s all-singing all-dancing classy middle order stroke-maker was a near banker for runs but how will the keeping affect his batting? De Villiers keeping is average at this level and England is a notoriously difficult place for gloveman, particularly for those without significant experience in the conditions.
stats by stats expert Michael Wagener
words by words expert @thenugget111
Published with permission from Alternative Cricket...cricket for grown-ups.