CENTURION, South Africa (AP) — England selected an all-pace attack in the opening test in South Africa and chose to bowl first at SuperSport Park on Thursday.
Star allrounder Ben Stokes is in England's team after his father was in a critical condition in a South African hospital earlier in the week with a serious illness. Ged Stokes' condition has since improved and he is stable.
Veteran fast bowler James Anderson returns from a calf injury he sustained at the start of the Ashes series to play his 150th test for England. He's the first fast bowler to play 150 tests. Anderson is joined by pace bowlers Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran in the lineup. Stokes offers a fifth pace option on what's expected to be a quick, bouncy track.
Ollie Pope missed out on selection for England and is one of three players alongside Jack Leach and Chris Woakes who have been quarantined at the team hotel with a flu-like illness that has affected a number of players.
South Africa is under new coach Mark Boucher for the first time. He was appointed less than two weeks before the start of the four-test series.
The Proteas have given batsman Rassie van der Dussen his test debut and seamer Vernon Philander starts his final series for South Africa after announcing he'll retire from international cricket afterwards.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (captain), Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock, Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Stuart Broad.
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