South Africa win toss, bowl in first test

DURBAN: South Africa captain Hashim Amla won the toss and asked England to bat in the first test at Kingsmead on Saturday.

The start of the match was delayed by 30 minutes after persistent drizzle on the opening morning, with the new start of play at 0830 GMT. Lunch will be taken at a revised time of 10h30 GMT.

England, who would have bowled had they won the toss, have handed a test debut to opening batsman Alex Hales, while Nick Compton returns to the side at number three.

Chris Woakes comes in for injured seamer James Anderson, while tall fast bowler Steven Finn earns his place after missing the test series defeat to Pakistan in October with a foot injury.

South Africa, who were thumped 3-0 in their test series in India that ended earlier this month, welcome back the world's top-ranked fast bowler Dale Steyn, who has sat out their last three tests with a groin problem.

Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel are the other seam bowlers, with spin options in the form of Dane Piedt, JP Duminy and part-timer Dean Elgar.

AB de Villiers takes over the wicketkeeper gloves from Dane Vilas, which has allowed them to play an extra batsman in the form of opener Stiaan van Zyl.

"It looks a good surface but the overhead conditions look good for bowling," Amla said. "It's lovelly to have Dale back, you always want a world-class bowler in your team and he has shown great hunger."

The match is the first of a four-game series, with further tests in Cape Town (Jan 2-6), and at high altitude in Johannesburg and Pretoria next month.


South Africa: Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl, Hashim Amla (captain), Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Dane Piedt, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Alex Hales, Nick Compton, Joe Root, James Taylor, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Steven Finn.