Nottingham - Joe Root missed out on a double-century in his first stint as Test skipper, against South Africa at Lord’s. Moeen Ali, despite being referred as a ‘batsman who can bowl’, claimed his 100th Test wicket. England cruised past the Proteas at Lord’s to make early inroads in the four-Test series.

On the other hand, South Africa committed basic mistakes and fell flat in the series opener. England were on the mat on Day One with the score at 76 for 4. However, dropped catches and no-balls enabled England to consolidate. Since then, South Africa were only playing ‘catch up’. Kagiso Rabada got suspended for his unwanted send-off to Ben Stokes. Vernon Philander picked up an injury (he was later declared fit). JP Duminy’s poor form continued and Africans succumbed to a heavy defeat in the first Test.

After winning two back-to-back away series against Australia and New Zealand, South Africa were found wanting at Lord’s. The defeat has certainly raised a few eyebrows as their batsmen continued to remain erratic. With their regular skipper Faf du Plessis set to return for the second Test, will South Africa regain their lost mojo?

The Proteas have plenty to ponder upon. Their top order has been misfiring for a brief period. They were caught off the hook twice against New Zealand. In Wellington, South Africa were reeling at 94 for 6. They then slipped to 97 for 4 and 59 for 5 in Hamilton. And here, they collapsed for 119 in pursuit of 331 to hand over a comprehensive victory to England. Hashim Amla has a solitary fifty in his last 8 innings. Dean Elgar’s average reads 16.60 from last 5 outings. Du Plessis has to back the likes of Theunis de Bruyn and Temba Bavuma with an under-firing Duminy.

Rabada found support from du Plessis for his ‘exaggerated’ celebrations after dismissing Stokes. Nonetheless, his absence will surely hurt the tourists in Trent Bridge. Morne Morkel has owned up to his long-standing ‘no-ball’ issues. For the records, he has overstepped 13 times in his career. Philander will spearhead the attack and South Africa may want to bring in an all-rounder to strengthen both departments. It may turn out to be a toss-up between Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo.

Things look bright for England at this point. Root commenced his captaincy era in style. He got runs himself, and his batsmen and bowlers responded well and triggered a whopping victory for the side. The hosts have announced an unchanged XI for the second Test. As of now, nothing seems to be a worry for the home side. Nonetheless, every Test match throws new challenges. An in-form side like England will be on their toes against a side down-and-out but thriving for turnaround.

Root has the class of Alastair Cook at the top. He holds fort at No. 4. Gary Ballance got starts in both innings, but will be confident with the team management retaining him for another game. Moeen, Jonny Bairstow, Stokes, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Liam Dawson will be in good stead after worthy contributions.

SQUADS:

ENGLAND: Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Mark Wood, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Liam Dawson, Keaton Jennings, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Moeen Ali.

SOUTH AFRICA: Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Duanne Olivier, Andy Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

Match starts at 3:00 PM