England Cricket Board announced a full-strength squad for the four-match Test series against South Africa that will begin from a boxing day game in Centurion. It also marked the return of Jonny Bairstow, James Anderson and Mark Wood in the longer format. This series will also be the part of ICC Test Championship that got underway after the conclusion of 2019 World Cup.
England is currently ranked 5th and South Africa is on 8th position in the league table. So, it will be an important series for both sides to grab some important points and improve their position in the ongoing ICC Test championship.
Moeen Ali remains on the sidelines
Joe Root and Co. is struggling with the form in the longer format. Earlier, this year, they couldn’t win Ashes against Australia in their own backyard followed by their two-match Test series defeat by 1-0 against New Zealand. However, it will be a great opportunity for them to regain their form in Tests against struggling South Africa.
As far as the squad is concerned, England has only made one change to the group that lost the Test series to New Zealand with Saqib Mahmood making way for Jimmy Anderson, who had sustained a calf injury in the first Ashes Test in August.
Jonny Bairstow, who was dropped from the team that played against New Zealand is also included for the squad. He has been picked as a proper backup for Jos Buttler in the Test series starting on Boxing Day. Mark Wood also makes his way back into the longer format, who has been out since the World Cup final in July because of knee injury. His last appearance in Tests for England came in February against West Indies in which he won the Man of The Match award for his six-wicket haul.
Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley retained their spot as openers in the team on the back of their decent performances against New Zealand. In the absence of Moeen Ali, England will continue with Matt Parkinson and Jack Leach as their two main spinners in the Test series against the Proteas.
England Test squad for South Africa tour: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope (wk), Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
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