Proteas eye Jo'burg response

Hosts to plump for Parnell; England remain unchanged

By Joe Drabble   Last updated: 13th January 2010   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Proteas eye Jo'burg response

Parnell: Set for debut

In all likelihood, this Test is not going to be a draw, so we need to make sure we get ahead and put South Africa under pressure.

Andrew Strauss
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England will claim back-to-back Test series victories in South Africa for the first time since 1949 if they avoid defeat in the fourth Test at The Wanderers.

The tourists' comprehensive victory in Durban remains the difference between the sides, though nail-biting draws in Centurion and Cape Town leave an enthralling series fascinatingly poised.

Few people would have expected Graham Onions' performances with the bat to decide the outcome of the series, but the England seamer's resilience at Centurion Park and Newlands could yet prove decisive.

England head to Johannsburg knowing a draw is good enough to claim a 1-0 win, however captain Andrew Strauss believes playing for such an outcome would prove costly.

Negative

"We'll be going in trying to win, it's as simple as that, we'll be using the same style that was successful before," said Strauss, who scored a century on his last Test appearance at The Wanderers.

"If you go into a Test thinking you only need a draw that can be very dangerous because then your mindset can be negative and hesitant and you end up handing the momentum to the opposition.

"In all likelihood, this Test is not going to be a draw, so we need to make sure we get ahead and put South Africa under pressure."

England are expected to finish the series with the same XI once again to play on a pitch South Africa have described as a "result wicket".

The hosts must win at the 'Bullring' if they are to retain the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy they won so impressively in England in 2008.

Left-arm fast bowler Wayne Parnell is expected to make his Test debut with fellow seamers Makhaya Ntini and Friedel de Wet struggling with form and fitness respectively.

Parnell, 20, has been capped nine times in one-day cricket and was the scourge of the England batsmen in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 with figures of 3-14 at Trent Bridge.

"Wayne has a very good chance of playing, he adds a touch of variety being left-arm and he has pace," said South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

"But he's inexperienced at first-class level, although he has had success at international level in the shorter forms of the game.

"He's the type of bowler who picks up wickets, but on this type of pitch you need to be precise where you bowl and it will be a big challenge for him."

Great contest

Smith, who was named man-of-the-match in Newlands for his second-innings 183, admits his team are still searching for the form they displayed in 2008 when they recorded series victories in both England and Australia.

"It's fair to say we haven't been able to reach those heights. But those tours were so close and were decided by the little things," he said.

"We won those then, but in this series we haven't. But we've played some good cricket - in two of the three tests we've come close, we've just lacked the final blow."

There has not been a draw in the last nine Tests at The Wanderers, and Smith believes the venue always provides a great contest between bat and ball.

"The Wanderers has always been a sporty pitch and, with its pace, bounce and cracks, it's one of the sportiest around the world. It's always been a great challenge between both bat and ball," he added.

"It's not any more sporty than what I've seen in the past and it's going to be hard work at times for both batsmen and bowlers.

"I disagree with people saying we have to gamble. Precision will be the key, we have to get our basics right.

"A key performance from an individual, partnerships with bat and ball and the team that holds their catches will win the Test."