England spinner Liam Dawson to play first Test vs South Africa

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England speedster Stuart Broad is confident that he is fit enough to play in the first Test against South Africa at Lord's.

England captain Joe Root has backed Gary Ballance to prove his critics wrong in the first Test of the summer against South Africa.

The 27-year-old all-rounder made his England debut against India in Chennai last December and joins Worcestershire's Moeen Ali in an England team which will feature two spinners in a Lord's Test for the first time since 1993.

The game at Lord's will also mark the return of Gary Ballance to the English Test squad after was dropped following England's tour of Bangladesh in 2016.


Root is not the only first time captain on show.

"Joe's not had a huge amount of captaincy experience because he played for England from a young age but he's learned the game at the top level", Broad told Sky Sports News at Lord's on Tuesday. However, former England skipper Nasser Hussain believes that the absence of de Villiers will hurt the Proteas in the upcoming series. From the moment he bounced out to the middle in a crisis in Nagpur in 2012 - relishing the confrontation and scoring 10 runs off his first 10 balls in Test cricket - Root has personified best practice in cricket. Cook remains in the team as opener, while Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones looks likely to make his debut on his home ground in the absence of the injured Chris Woakes and Jake Ball.

Joe Root, who has now made 98 appearances in the longer format is set to lead England for the first time in Test cricket and will be replacing Alastair Cook, who has captained them 59 times.

With Dale Steyn a long-term absentee with a shoulder injury, the tourists will hope that Vernon Philander has fully recovered from the ankle injury that caused him to sit out the warm-up fixture against England Lions with an ankle injury.

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