SOUTH Africa will seek to end a five-match losing streak when they meet England in the first one-day international at the Wanderers Stadium tomorrow.
South Africa were beaten 4-0 by England, with one match abandoned, in a one-day series in England last year. When the two sides met again in the Champions Trophy in Centurion in September, England's 21-run win meant the hosts failed to reach the knockout stage.
England have injury concerns going into the start of the five-match series but despite being down to 11 fit men they pulled off a morale-boosting win over a strong South Africa A team in Potchefstroom yesterday. The injury situation was so bad that bowling coach Ottis Gibson had to go on as a substitute fielder.
Most of the injuries were said by coach Andy Flower to be short-term but Durham fast bowler Liam Plunkett was called up as cover after three bowlers - James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann - were ruled out of the Potchefstroom match together with all-rounder Paul Collingwood and batsman Alastair Cook.
Broad's shoulder injury, which he suffered in the first match of the tour 12 days ago, is the biggest concern for the England camp. Despite the spate of injuries, England have shown encouraging form in the early stages of the tour, apart from taking an 84-run beating in the second Twenty20 international in Centurion last Sunday.
Captain and opening batsman Andrew Strauss, who did not play in the 20-over games, has been in outstanding form in his three innings on tour.
South African veterans Herschelle Gibbs and Makhaya Ntini have been dropped from the squad, while the addition of Ryan McLaren and Charl Langeveldt has added strength to the team's seam bowling.
All-rounder Jacques Kallis is set to open the batting, with young guns AB de Villiers and JP Duminy set to fill the crucial three and four batting positions. - Sapa-AFP