Joe Root says he feels excited by the prospect of finally leading England in a Test on the eve of the South Africa series opener at Lord's. Months of waiting will come to an end on Thursday for the 26-year-old Yorkshire batsman, who was named as Alastair Cook's successor as Test captain back in February.
England, however, have been concentrating on limited overs action since then but Thursday's match, the first of a four-Test series, will mark their return to red-ball cricket.
"I’m very excited," Root told reporters at Lord's on Wednesday. "For it to finally come round has made it feel a little bit more real. I just want to get out there."
Root confirmed that Hampshire spinner Liam Dawson would play on Thursday.
Meanwhile recalled batsman Gary Ballance will come in at number three, the new skipper at four and their Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow at five.
South Africa stand-in captain Dean Elgar is confident there will be no "scarring" on show when his side face England paceman Stuart Broad again in the first Test at Lord's on Thursday.
Broad's Test career has been studded with several dramatic match-winning spells, notably his Ashes-clinching eight for 15 against Australia at the Nottinghamshire quick's Trent Bridge home ground two years ago.
But opening batsman Elgar has first-hand experience of what can happen when Broad gets on a roll.
Last year's Johannesburg Test saw the now 31-year-old Broad take six for 17 in the second innings to lay the platform for England's series-winning seven-wicket victory over the Proteas.
Elgar, the first batsman Broad dismissed that day, insisted the spell would provide "motivation" to the Proteas rather than a source of lasting damage ahead of this four-match series.
JE Root*, MM Ali, JM Anderson, JM Bairstow, GS Ballance, SCJ Broad, AN Cook, LA Dawson, KK Jennings, TS Roland-Jones, BA Stokes, MA Wood
South Africa Squad
D Elgar*, HM Amla, T Bavuma, TB de Bruyn, Q de Kock†, JP Duminy, F du Plessis, HG Kuhn, KA Maharaj, AK Markram, M Morkel, CH Morris, D Olivier, AL Phehlukwayo, VD Philander, K Rabada