England set to call up Dom Bess for Second Test in South Africa

England to throw Dom Bess into the Second Test team as Joe Root looks to shake up bowling options by bringing in off-spinning all-rounder

  • England fell to a 107-run defeat to South Africa in the First Test at Centurion 
  • Captain Joe Root has been widely criticised for not having a specialist spinner 
  • Dom Bess is set to get a call up to provide a spinning option in Cape Town  

England look set to throw an off-spinning all-rounder who was only called up here as emergency cover just before Christmas in Dom Bess into the pivotal second Test.

Bess, who made two Test appearances against Pakistan last year, will leapfrog his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach and leg-spinner Matt Parkinson to go straight into England’s team if, as expected, they want to introduce a spinner at Cape Town on Friday.

The probable elevation of Bess is both a measure of the dearth of spin bowling options in England and a tacit admission that Parkinson is not ready for Test cricket. He is also capable of batting at eight which will save England from a long tail.

England look set to call up Dom Bess as a specialist spinning option for the Second Test

Leach, who suffers from Crohn’s Disease, has been particularly hard hit by the sickness bugs sweeping through the England camp and, Sportsmail understands, consideration has been given to sending him home after the first Test defeat.

Lancashire’s Parkinson, meanwhile, looked raw and ineffective in two warm-up games in Benoni, raising doubts as to whether he should have been picked both for the tour of New Zealand and this most important assignment of England’s winter.

Joe Root has been widely criticised for picking five seamers for the defeat in Centurion

Joe Root has been widely criticised for picking five seamers for the defeat in Centurion

Bess is known to have impressed England coach Chris Silverwood since his arrival here and is said to be a hugely improved bowler since he was sent to a spin bowling camp under the instruction of Sri Lanka legend Rangana Herath in Mumbai earlier this winter.

His selection would be one of two probable changes in England’s team from the chastening defeat here and Bess would come in for a seamer, probably Jimmy Anderson. Ollie Pope is expected to replace Jonny Bairstow now he has recovered from illness.

‘All the sickness has caused a lot of problems for us, particularly for Jack Leach,’ said England captain Joe Root. ‘But we’ve got a very able back-up in Dom Bess and we’ve got Matt Parkinson as another option. We’ll turn up at Cape Town, look at the surface and make our decision.’


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