After the end of the one-day and T20 series, England and South Africa will now square off in the longer format as the first Test between England and South Africa at Lord’s. This series assumes more importance as this will be the first time that 26-year-old Joe Root will be leading the Three Lions. Hence, it will be interesting to see how England’s premier batsman handles the responsibility.
To strengthen its batting England have included Gary Ballance. Apart from that, the batting will feature regulars comprising of Alastair Cook and others. The pace attack will be led by James Anderson, Mark Wood and Stuart Broad. Broad’s inclusion was in doubt as he was nursing an injury but he has recovered in time and has been thereby included in the squad. Another notable inclusion is that of is the inexperienced pacer- Toby Roland-Jones. Whether he will get a game remains a matter of conjecture.
Meanwhile, South Africa will be led by Dean Elgar as captain Faf du Plessis will miss the first test against England at Lords starting on Thursday due to family reasons. While the absence of du Plessis and de Villiers will be a huge worry for the Proteas, they will still have the services of the prolific – Hashim Amla. While the South African side hasn’t been in good form in recent times but Hashim Amla has had a standout season with the bat. The batting unit also features other like P Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock who need to step up their game if South Africa have to secure a positive result. Hence, the heat will be on the Faf-less Proteas side.
The bowling looks in a better shape as Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel will lead the attack. Rabada, in particular, will the one to watch out for as he has been in phenomenal form in both the formats of the game.
England Squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wicket-keeper), Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Liam Dawson, Keaton Jennings, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood.
South Africa Squad: Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy, Heino Kuhn, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dean Elgar(c)