Wright in line to make Test debut

Flower hints at all-rounder batting at No 7 but wants Anderson to prove his fitness

England already have a fair idea of what their team will be for the first Test. In accordance with their strictly observed protocol, however, they have no intention of revealing their intention and no amount of persuasive methods will change their minds.

On these occasions the coach, Andy Flower, and captain, Andrew Strauss, tend to adopt a policy of revealing only their rank, name and number for fear of alerting the opposition to anything else. Thus, the first of the successive two-day games which begins here today will be less a serious examination of credentials than the platform for a guessing game.

Flower conceded yesterday that he and Strauss have already formulated the probable XI they would like to play at Centurion next week and it is difficult to see how any player in the course of these warm-ups against a South Africa Invitation XI can make a convincing case one way or the other.

"Yes we have a reasonable idea but we have options depending on conditions," he said. "I am not going to tell you now and we haven't seen the conditions at Centurion."

The options come down to what they always are: play five bowlers or four, five batsmen or six. A clue can be gleaned from the teams that England have fielded under Flower and Strauss in the past. Only once in 12 matches have they selected a team with four bowlers and since that was in Barbados earlier this year when England made 600 for 6 and West Indies responded with 749 for 9, they may not be anxious to do it again.

This suggests that the uncapped 24-year-old Sussex all rounder Luke Wright has not been brought along for the ride and his workload in this week's matches will offer an indication.

"Wright's a possibility, yes," said Flower without committing himself. "He always seems to make contributions in one-day cricket. It might be a great one-handed catch, or a quick 20 off 12 balls, or he picks up an important wicket as he did through the series and even in the warm-up games.

"He still has a long way to go before he becomes a fully-fledged, skilful Test cricketer but he is an option for us at No 7 as someone who can bowl useful overs and make a breakthrough."

If Stuart Broad, who has done the job before, presents another option it also might expose a long tail which England would be reluctant to do at the start of the series. To go 1-0 down after one, away from home in a four-match series, would make life extremely tough. Flower and Strauss will remember only too well the outcome after that happened in the Caribbean: 1-0 stayed 1-0.

Selection may also be influenced by injury. Jimmy Anderson is sitting out the first of this week's matches to allow the injection in his troublesome knee to take effect. Anderson has now had the knee injected three times on this tour – without the injury being properly identified – but the last one at the weekend appears to have been more effective in dulling the pain.

Ryan Sidebottom's side strain will also force him to miss today's match, although he bowled yesterday and is expected to be take his place on Friday. Although Flower would not rule it out, it would be difficulty for either of them to play at Centurion without some sort of full workout here. "They are both experienced enough to be able to go into a Test without a huge amount of bowling under their belt but the ideal situation is they bowl here," said Flower. "If Jim does not come through this two-day game well then that would be a problem for the Test. We want him to play here, definitely."

England's second spinner, Adil Rashid, has stayed with the Performance Squad in Pretoria to give him another four-day match, although he has no chance of making the Test side.

Play today is still doubtful following perpetual rain which eased yesterday. The Buffalo Park pitch was covered by a makeshift tent under which were hot air blowers drying out the surface.

* Joe Denly scored 188 not out for the England Performance Programme XI against Nashua Titans Presidents XI in Pretoria yesterday. EPP finished the first day on 345 for 7.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice