England have won the toss and have opted to bat first, as Duanne Olivier and Theunis de Bruyn come in for the crucial fourth Test at Old Trafford.
Barely a day ago, the Proteas were expected to keep an unchanged side to tackle the English in Manchester. Now there are two changes. Vernon Philander, who struggled throughout the third Test with a viral infection, has a new ailment, as stress to his lower back has ruled him out. That gives Duanne Olivier another chance to show his worth at the highest level, while Theunis de Bruyn comes in to earn his third Test cap, with the news that Chris Morris has pulled up injured with soreness in his back too.
England, on the other hand, have kept the same XI that thrashed the Proteas last week by 239 runs, and it comes as no surprise, given the conditions at Old Trafford. With rain expected throughout the five days, the Proteas won’t be able to sit back; they’ll have to hit the ground running as they look to avoid losing a series in England for the first time since 1998.
Sky Sports pundit Shane Warne said it’s a good toss to win, and if the last three Tests are anything to go by, then England already have the upper hand. All three Tests have been won by winning the toss and batting first. There are, however, useful overhead conditions for the Proteas to exploit.
England: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley, Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
South Africa: Heino Kuhn, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Duanne Olivier
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