The Investec Test Series between England and South Africa has only just begun and we have already witnessed the very best qualities of the touring side.
Even the most ardent England supporter will have appreciated the manner in which South Africa bowled on Day Two to bring the visitors back into contention; such is the character of a side brimming with confidence and, quite rightly, regarded as one of the greatest cricket sides in the world.
Then it was the turn of the batsmen, and the way in which South Africa – specifically captain Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jaques Kallis – put arguably the world’s most formidable bowling attack to the sword was equally impressive.
As a unit, South Africa are a well-oiled machine with the cohesiveness and camaraderie to match any.
Individually, they are brimming with talent and have on show the type of players you could sit back and watch all day long.
This is, of course, exactly what the Derbyshire public can do when South Africa visit the County Ground on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th August.
So who can those in attendance at the County Ground over the two days look forward to seeing?
First things first, they are likely to witness Hashim Amla who, on the fourth day of the first Test, became the first South African ever to hit a Test triple century in a quite sublime knock of 311* at the Kia Oval.
Amla put on 350+ during that game with arguably the greatest all-rounder of all time, and if any persuading is required to attend the game, the prospect of seeing Jacques Kallis in full flow is as mouth-watering a prospect as any.
Kallis’ stats in Test cricket are quite remarkable. Even before his heroics at the Kia Oval – where he hit an unbeaten 182 – his record pre-match record stood at almost 12,500 runs from 152 matches at an average of 56.78.
On top of that, Kallis, who is approaching 37-years-old, has claimed 276 wickets at under 33 with best figures of 6-54. There will surely be no better opportunity to see a South African legend than at Derby in August.
Another player of legendary status in South African is their captain Graeme Smith, who celebrated his 100th Test match in the first Test against England with yet another century.
The 31-year-old averages over 50 from those 100 Tests and he remains the only South African with four double-centuries to his name.
Meanwhile, in the bowling department, the Proteas can call on one of the most exciting new bowlers on the world stage, Vernon Philand, who recently became the second fastest ever to reach 50 Test wickets.
The visitors can also turn to arguably the most hostile and revered fast bowler in the world at the moment in Dale Steyn.
The above statement is backed-up by the 29-year-old’s tally of 272 wickets at just 23.18 ahead of the Investec Test Series.
If the above are players to watch out for, the likes of Morne Morkel, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy are certainly not far behind in a side with no weak links.
Whilst South Africa will look to keep their eye in as the much-hyped Test series against England reaches its crescendo, the game will serve as important preparation too for a Derbyshire side who sit top of the LV=County Championship Division Two table as the business end approaches.
All of the above suggests a cricketing feast at the County Ground, Derby, when the side vying for the honour of being the world’s greatest cricket team take on Derbyshire.
Tickets for Derbyshire versus South Africa on August 10th and 11th can be purchased at the advanced price of £13 by contacting the Ticket Office on 01332 388101, in person at the County Ground or online.
Juniors aged 0-13 on 31st March 2012 can watch all Derbyshire home cricket for FREE by registering for Junior Membership of the Club for FREE. Do so in advance of the match.
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The County Ground, Grandstand Road, Derby DE21 6AF. Tel: 01332 388 101
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