England could pick Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in the same Test team for the first time as they look to seal a series win over South Africa in Johannesburg.
Archer missed England’s victories in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – which leaves the tourists 2-1 up with one to play – due to a right elbow problem.
But the 24-year-old is pushing to return at Wanderers and could line up alongside fellow paceman Wood, who bowled rapidly at St George’s Park last week in his first Test in 11 months.
Wood, who had been out with side and knee issues since July’s World Cup final, is pressing to play in back-to-back Tests and Joe Root is considering unleashing both quicks on what is expected to be a fast pitch.
“It would be a relentless barrage of pace which is exciting, especially on the surface you typically get here at the Wanderers, said skipper Root, who confirmed England will not name their team until the toss on Friday.
“It would be great to have that extra bit of pace and firepower. It would be nice to see how that looks and see how they go together.”
Root also believes beating the Proteas in this series would top their 2-1 triumph in South Africa under Sir Alastair Cook in 2015-16, due to the illness and injury that has impacted their tour.
Eleven players, including Root, Wood and Archer, have suffered from a virus, while Rory Burns (ankle) and James Anderson (rib) have returned home.
“I think it probably would beat [2015-16], because of the different things we’ve had to manage,” said Root. “It would be a very big achievement for this group.
“It’s been a tour that has thrown everything at us and I think collectively as a squad, not just the players but the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as much in control as we can.”
South Africa will be without their premier paceman Kagiso Rabada, with the 24-year-old picking up a one-match ban after accruing a fourth demerit point inside 24 months for his celebration after dismissing Root in England’s sole innings in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas have confirmed that Temba Bavuma – who scored a career-best 180 in South African domestic cricket last week – will play his first game of the series, replacing fellow batsman Zubayr Hamza, who is averaging just 13 in the series, with a top-score of 39.
Rassie van der Dussen will take Hamza’s spot at No 3 with Bavuma slotting in at No 5, underneath captain Faf du Plessis.
Source: Read Full Article