Brilliant Bairstow can pile up the runs for England
Number five can keep up love affair with Lord's
Sky Sports 2, 11am Thursday
England are evens to win their first Test match since Joe Root's appointment as captain and they will be keen to make a strong start against South Africa at Lord’s.
Five years ago, the Proteas won the first Test of the series by an innings at The Oval and England lost the series opener against Pakistan at Lord's last summer.
With captain Faf du Plessis missing the first Test, there will be some inexperienced players in the South Africa top order and the tourists have been easy to back at 3-1 with some money for the draw at 11-4.
Jonny Bairstow's efforts in South Africa in 2015-16 cemented his place in the England Test side and since then the wicketkeeper-batsman has been superb in all three formats of the game.
Bairstow has a terrific record against South Africa, scoring 508 runs in five Test matches, and he absolutely loves batting at Lord's.
He made 95 and 54 there against South Africa in 2012, scored 167 not out in last year's Test against Sri Lanka and posted ODI fifties at HQ against Ireland and the Proteas this summer.
Bairstow's consistency since the beginning of the series in South Africa last year has been remarkable. He has reached 40 in 19 of his last 31 Test innings so 7-1 about the number five top-scoring in England's first innings is a tempting price.
Vernon Philander had a Test to remember at Lord's five years ago and he has a major role to play with bat and ball for the tourists.
Philander claimed seven wickets and scored 96 runs in South Africa’s 2012 victory, which would have meant a make-up of 236 on bet365's performance market.
The firm chalk up Philander's line at 105.5 this time around and he should be in good heart after 16 wickets and 211 runs in five County Championship matches for Sussex.
Philander had a quiet series against New Zealand in March but his performance tallies against Australia and Sri Lanka last year were 183, 142, 61, 143, 175 and 90 and England should be wary of the experienced all-rounder.
J Bairstow top England first-innings runscorer
1pt 7-1 Betfair, BoyleSports, Paddy Power
V Philander over 105.5 performance points
3pts 5-6 bet365
England haven't had the best of times at Lord's recently, losing three of their last five Tests to Pakistan, Australia and India.
Pitches at HQ are usually true batting surfaces but cloud cover can offer plenty of movement for the quick bowlers and leg spinner Yasir Shah took ten wickets in Pakistan's victory last year.
Chris Woakes is the only major injury absentee for England and senior bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have shaken off niggles. Spinner Liam Dawson has got the nod over uncapped seamer Toby Roland-Jones and Gary Ballance will bat at three.
Heiko Kuhn is set to make his Test debut as opener alongside Dean Elgar, who captains South Africa in the absence of Du Plessis.
Theunis de Bruyn, who made nought and 12 opening the batting against New Zealand in his first Test in March, is likely to get a chance in the middle-order.
Light showers could delay the start of the first day but a warm, dry afternoon is forecast.
Days two and three are likely to be bright and dry before more overcast conditions on the last two days of the Test.