x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

South Africa name unchanged squad for England series

Skipper Graeme Smith wins fitness battle to take place in squad for three-Test series in August.

South Africa skipper Graeme Smith
South Africa skipper Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith will lead an unchanged 15-man South Africa test squad to face England later this summer after winning his battle for fitness.

Smith, who averages 72 in England, had been a slight doubt for the tour after having surgery on his left ankle in April but Cricket South Africa confirmed today the left-handed opener has made a full recovery.

He was the only concern heading into the three-Test series as the Proteas named the same squad as the one that defeated New Zealand in March, with AB de Villiers serving as the reserve wicketkeeper behind Mark Boucher.

Smith has already had two throw-down sessions with national coach Gary Kirsten and his availability is a welcome relief for South Africa.

The 31-year-old led his side to a 2-1 series victory over England in 2008 - the last time Andrew Strauss' team lost a home Test series.

CSA selection convener Andrew Hudson said: "Graeme has been outstanding both as our leading runs scorer and as captain during our last two Test tours of England and I have every confidence he will continue that form."

The series gets under way on July 19 with the first Test at the Kia Oval and further matches at Headingley and Lord's.

With England and South Africa occupying first and second place in the latest International Cricket Council Test rankings, it promises to be an exciting series.

"The players fully deserve a vote of confidence after the outstanding manner in which they outplayed New Zealand away from home," Hudson said.

"We are now building up excellent depth in both the batting and bowling departments.

"I believe most other countries would be very happy to have the fast bowling resources we have at the moment.

"Marchant de Lange has been most impressive since his outstanding debut against Sri Lanka while Lonwabo Tsotsobe gives us a left-arm option.

"Consistency has also been one of the key pillars of our selection policy and this is also contributing to our success on the field."

South Africa Test squad to face England: G Smith (captain), H Amla, M Boucher, M de Lange, AB de Villiers (vice-captain), JP Duminy, I Tahir, J Kallis, M Morkel, A Petersen, R Peterson, V Philander, J Rudolph, D Steyn, L Tsotsobe.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE