Joe Denly backs England to chase ‘anything under 300’ to win first Test against South Africa

Joe Denly says England will need to keep South Africa to under a 300 lead to give themselves a chance of winning the first Test.

Denly top scored with 50 as the tourists collapsed to 181 all out on the second day in Centurion.

Joe Denly top scored for England in their first innings

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Joe Denly top scored for England in their first innings

By the close of play, South Africa had built a 175 run lead and were four wickets down.

Denly told talkSPORT: “I don’t think there’s too many demons in it (the pitch). Obviously the bounce takes a bit of getting used to but I think if we can get through that new ball period with Philander and Rabada relatively unscathed then anything under 300 I would back us to go and chase.”

Denly and Ben Stokes were going well for England and they were 142-3 at one stage before losing seven wickets for 39 runs.

England’s tour of South Africa 2019/20

Every ball of the series will be live across the talkSPORT network

  • 1st Test, Centurion – December 26-30
  • 2nd Test, Cape Town – January 3-7
  • 3rd Test, Port Elizabeth – January 16-20
  • 4th Test, Johannesbury – January 24-28
  • 1st ODI, Cape Town – February 4
  • 2nd ODI, Durban – February 7
  • 3rd ODI, Johannesbury – February 9
  • 1st T20, East London – February 12
  • 2nd T20, Durban – February 14
  • 3rd T20, Centurion – February 16

Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada bowled exceptionally well to take 4-16 and 3-68 respectively.

Denly added: “We were just starting to get something going there, me and Ben, but that just highlights Test cricket. It is a game of small margins and when you lose a wicket like that it can happen. You can lose a few consecutively and that happened to us today.

“I felt pretty confident out there. Starting your innings is tricky. Very tough but once you get through those first 15 or 20 balls and when that new ball does wear off it becomes easier.

“It was tough. They bowled exceptionally well with that new ball. Two world class bowlers, that’s for sure, and they make you work hard for every single one.

“I had a little bit of luck by unfortunately I wasn’t able to go on and get that big score.”

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