Amla denies South Africa rift as England crush Proteas
Published 31/12/2015 | 02:30
The two squads fly to Cape Town today for the second Test with England resembling the confident home team, and South Africa the tourists in disarray.
It is a feeling that will grow when they arrive in South Africa's 'Mother City' where thousands of England fans are expected to dominate the attendance at Newlands and make it feel like a home match for Alastair Cook's side.
South Africa will have to chop and change due to injury and lack of form, while England mull over the dangers of upsetting a winning team by gambling on the fitness of James Anderson, who has returned to bowling and will have a fitness test in Cape Town.
Dale Steyn is almost certainly out of the match with a shoulder injury, and Quinton de Kock has been called up to keep wicket, freeing up AB de Villiers to concentrate on carrying just the batting and not everything else as well.
Fast bowler Chris Morris, who took 0-93 for South Africa A against England two weeks ago, has also been recalled as cover for Steyn, although it appears more likely that 20-year-old Kagiso Rabada will take his place.
For England the bigger challenge is keeping their feet on the ground after a storming victory away from home against the world's No 1-ranked side with the last seven wickets falling for 38 runs as Moeen Ali earned the man-of-the-match award.
For a team who had won just once in 15 previous Tests away from home, victory here by 241 runs was a remarkable achievement.
"The danger is complacency," Cook said. "We're hopeful (of Anderson playing). It's a big ask, five days of a Test match."
Cook can empathise with the struggles of his opposite number Hashim Amla, whose runs have dried up as the burden of captaincy has taken its toll; he was forced to fend off questions about his future just one Test into the series.
He said he was "enjoying every minute of captaincy" but knew that his team missed his runs.
"I have been disappointed not to get the runs," he said. "I started off really well last year and not being able to maintain it has been disappointing because as captain you want to lead from the front."
There have been rumours of discord behind the scenes, with former captain Graeme Smith suggesting as much during this Test. During the match De Villiers was linked with retirement at the end of the series, although it appears now a thinly veiled plea to have his workload cut.
It seems likely that wish will be granted. Whether it is enough remains to be seen. (© Daily Telegraph, London)