England captain Joe Root has won the toss and has chosen to bat first in the third Test at The Oval as the Proteas aim to go 2-1 up in the series.
The weather is going to be unpredictable throughout the five days, with chances of showers on days two and three, but it wasn’t enough to put off Root, choosing to bat on a ground renowned for its runs. Look no further than the last time the sides played here, as Hashim Amla’s 311* – the first-ever triple century from a South African – took the Proteas to 637-2, and with that, a resounding innings and 12-run victory.
Off the back of their 340-run epic at Trent Bridge a couple of weeks ago, and with a fired-up Kagiso Rabada returning to the side, the Proteas will want to exploit an England side damaged by media criticism and selection uncertainty.
It’s the only time the Proteas have tasted success at the south London venue in 14 attempts. In what is the ground’s 100th Test stretching over 137 years, the visitors will be out to upset the home faithful.
Michael Vaughan caused a stir in the camp with his comments that England aren’t respecting Test cricket at the moment with their ODI-esque approach. They’ve indeed shaken up the side with three debuts, two of which are injury-enforced changes. Tom Westley comes in to make his debut at the expense of the injured Gary Ballance, while Toby Roland-Jones also moves in for his first cap, with Mark Wood on the sidelines. Dawid Malan, who was educated at Paarl Boys and made his professional debut at Boland, comes in as the extra batsman, after impressing against the Proteas on his T20 International debut.
It’s straightforward for Russell Domingo’s charges, with Rabada coming straight back in from his suspension for Duanne Olivier.
Faf du Plessis: ‘I’m very unsure as to what I would have done on this wicket. It’s an opportunity for us to put some pressure on. I’m very happy to have KG back, he’s a fantastic bowler and he’s hungry to put in a good performance.’
England: 1. Alastair Cook 2. Keaton Jennings 3. Tom Westley 4. Joe Root 5. Dawid Malan 6. Jonny Bairstow 7. Ben Stokes 8. Moeen Ali 9. Toby Roland-Jones 10. Stuart Broad 11. James Anderson
South Africa: 1. Dean Elgar 2. Heino Kuhn 3. Hashim Amla 4. Quinton de Kock 5. Faf du Plessis 6. Temba Bavuma 7. Vernon Philander 8. Chris Morris 9. Keshav Maharaj 10. Kagiso Rabada 11. Morne Morkel
Photo: Philip Brown/Getty Images