England's Joe Root during nets. Photo: Reuters/Peter Cziborra

LONDON - England skipper Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat on what looks a well grassed pitch Thursday morning.

Though some rain had been forecast for the morning, only a few clouds dotted the skies above London on the opening day of a highly anticipated four match series.

South Africa had mulled the make up of their final eleven overnight, but stand-in skipper Dean Elgar confirmed that Theunis de Bruyn would start, meaning the tourists will utilise a four-man attack, comprising Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander.

South Africa has an excellent record at this venue having won four of the five Tests played there since readmission in 1994.

South Africa team: Dean Elgar (capt), Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.

England team (possible): Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Mark Wood.

Umpires: Standing - Paul Reiffel (Aus), Sundaram Ravi (Ind). TV - Simon Fry (Aus), Match Referee - Jeff Crowe (NZ)

Independent Media

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