Bopara gets another test chance
England have recalled batsman Ravi Bopara to the test squad that will play South African in a three-match series, replacing Jonny Bairstow.
The inexperienced Bairstow struggled with the bat during the recent series victory against the West Indies, with the short ball specifically causing him problems.
Bopara, who is also a handy medium-pacer, has seldom looked convincing in the longer form of the game despite playing 12 tests, but has shone with the bat in the One Day Internationals against the Windies and Australia.
The rest of the squad for the first test against the touring South Africans - which starts on Thursday - is as expected, with fact bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad back in the squad after being rested for the final match against the islanders.
"Ravi Bopara has worked hard to regain his place in the test squad following some injury concerns earlier in the season and is the only player included who is yet to play a test match this summer," England selector Geoff Miller said in a statement on Sunday.
"We know we will need to play excellent cricket to win this three-match series and the squad will be determined to start with a strong performance this week during the first Test and set the tone for the rest of the series."
England are the world's top-ranked side, while South Africa are third on the latest ICC rankings. The South Africans claimed a 2-1 series win when they toured England the previous time in 2008 and will reclaim the number one ranking should they win the series.
Andrew Strauss (Middlesex, captain), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Graham Onions (Durham), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Matt Prior (Sussex, wicketkeeper), Graham Swann (Nottinghamshire), Jonothan Trott (Warwickshire)