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James Anderson and Stuart Broad could have their necks on the chopping block as England mull changes

Modified 31 Dec 2019, 16:09 IST

The duo shared seven wickets between them in the 1st Test v South Africa
The duo shared seven wickets between them in the 1st Test v South Africa

England have a lot to ponder ahead of the second Test match in Cape Town. The visitors were handed a thrashing at Centurion, as Faf du Plessis’ men tasted victory for the first time in whites since January.

The Three Lions failed to put up a solid total in the first innings and later on the bowlers leaked runs aplenty.

Post the 107-run defeat, skipper Joe Root might have to take some strict measures in order to ensure an equalizer at the Super Sports Park. With England having their back against the wall, the think-tank might consider dropping one of the two experienced campaigners - James Anderson or Stuart Broad.

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The visitors will surely fancy playing a spinner at Newlands, and that is where the scenario of trimming the pace battery comes in. 

A long list of casualties in the England camp

With spinner Jack Leach yet to recover fully from illness, tweaker Dom Bess and leggie Matt Parkinson have been called in as cover. It will certainly not be a welcome headache for Root to chop down the XI. "If difficult decisions have to be made down the line then they will be," he said.

Joe Root
Joe Root

A total of 17 members of the England touring side (including players and support staff) have fallen ill since stepping in the African continent. Opener Dominic Sibley is the latest name in the long list of casualties, which features the likes of seamer Chris Woakes, Ollie Pope, Mark Wood and Leach.

Skipper Root and Jos Buttler also felt discomfort during the first Test, while the likes of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer missed the warm-up games due to illness. Star all-rounder Ben Stokes too, received treatment for dehydration.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes

However, the skipper refused to point his fingers at the casualties as an excuse for their latest defeat. "We are not going to hide behind that as an excuse, but a lot of our squad have been taken ill over the last two weeks," Root told reporters on Sunday.

Since the visitors’ last tour of South Africa, Root’s men have managed to win a mere five out of 23 Tests. Anderson and Broad have played most of those matches and hence it might be a good call to back the fresh legs.

On the other hand, they might be tempted to go for experience, and in that case either one of Sam Curran or Jofra Archer will have to bite the bullet.

Published 30 Dec 2019, 22:28 IST
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