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03-Aug-2017 10:19:00 GMT
England v South Africa, 4th Test, Old Trafford

South Africa hopes to finish on high and level series

Old Trafford: Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, asked his batsmen to take more responsibility as they look to end their tour of England on a positive in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, which begins on Friday.

The Proteas head into the match with only a share of the spoils available to them after a thumping 239-run defeat in the third Test at The Oval left then 2-1 down with just one to play.

A tour that started back in mid-May has already seen South Africa lose one-day international and Twenty20 series to England, with the Proteas suffering a disappointing first-round exit in the Champions Trophy as well during their time in England.

But a win at Old Trafford would at least ensure South Africa keep its proud away Test record intact.

Although South Africa was handicapped at The Oval by the stomach illness suffered by Vernon Philander, being bowled out for just 175 in its first innings was the point of no return for the side in the game.

It did make a better showing in the second innings, with Dean Elgar becoming the first South African to hit a century in the series as the side amassed 252. England still won by 239 runs but du Plessis feels Elgar's knock has set a timely example.

South Africa will look to Hashim Amla for a big contribution after the star batsman twice fell cheaply to Toby Roland-Jones, England's debutant seamer in south London.

Moeen Ali ended that match in spectacular fashion with the first hat-trick in The Oval's 100-Test history.

Yet with Moeen, a frontline county batsman, coming in at No. 8, Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, is still not sure his side has got the balance right. But how Bayliss removes a 'spare' batsman from his XI at Old Trafford is an intriguing question.

Ben Stokes made a valuable century in the middle order at The Oval and Bayliss, with an Ashes tour on the horizon.

South Africa-born Keaton Jennings has been struggling but England have no other specialist opener in their squad to partner Alastair Cook.

Tom Westley made a fifty on debut at The Oval in at No 3, so it would be surprising if he was promoted to open alongside Essex team-mate Cook.

Liam Dawson remains in the squad after featuring in the first two Tests, but unless the management thinks the Old Trafford pitch will take sharp turn, the left-arm spinner seems set to sit out.

Teams from

Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley, Joe Root (capt), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

South Africa: Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Vernon Philander, Chris Morris, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.

Stats and trivia

In South Africa past 19 series they've won 13, drawn five and lost just one -- in India in 2015/16.
Since 2000, England has won eight and lost just one of 12 Tests at Old Trafford.

Match facts

August 4-8, 2017
Start time 1100 local (10:00 GMT)

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