safari staff
16 Aug 2022 | 07:46 AM

Fantasy: How do you look beyond Root and Bairstow?

Here are a few tips that could help you create your fantasy XI for the first Test between England and South Africa

England will take on South Africa in a three-match Test series, starting on Wednesday (August 17) at Lord's. England had won only one of their 17 previous Tests before their new red-ball leadership duo - skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum - took charge this season. They have now won all of their last four encounters. Having won seven of their last nine Tests, Dean Elgar and Co. are themselves in pretty good form and will try to do whatever it takes to stop England’s bandwagon.

Ground details

Lord's has hosted three Tests since 2021 and the batters here have scored runs at an average of 29.4, while a wicket has fallen every 59.7 deliveries. The fast bowlers have taken 94.9 percent of the total wickets to fall in these three Tests and they have done that at an average of 25.9 and a strike rate of 56. Meanwhile, the corresponding numbers for spinners are 79.8 and 165.8 respectively. Hence, it would be ideal to have at least four-five fast-bowling options in your team.

Suggested team

While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.

Captaincy suggestions

For small leagues: Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow (vc)

For grand leagues: Ben Stokes (c), Marco Jansen (vc) 

Stats that matter

Joe Root has unarguably been the best Test batter for the last few years. The right-hander has amassed 2635 runs in his last 24 Tests at an average of 61.28. In this period, Root has slammed five fifties and 11 centuries. 

The year 2022 has belonged to Jonny Bairstow so far. The right-handed batter has smashed 994 runs in eight Tests at an average of 76.46 and a strike rate of 76.2. His scores in his last five innings read 114*, 106, 71*, 162 and 136. Would be really tough to bet against him.

No other bowler has picked up more wickets than Jack Leach (29 in eight games) in Test cricket this year. 

Keegan Petersen has played four Tests this year and has managed as many 50-plus scores. The right-hander is averaging 47.13 this year and has the best balls per dismissal (88.9) in the South African team.

Grand league punts

Marco Jansen has only featured in five Tests so far but has claimed 28 wickets at an average of 20.35 and a strike rate of 38.2. 

In 12 Tests against South Africa, Ben Stokes has smashed 1028 runs at an average of 46.73. He has four fifties and three centuries against this opponent. On top of that, he has also picked up 29 wickets. The England skipper is a game-changer and could fetch you points in all facets of the game.

Probable XIs

England - Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Matty Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson.

South Africa - Dean Elgar (c), Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram/Khaya Zondo, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj/Simon Harmer, Kagiso Rabada (subject to fitness), Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi. 

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