Ballance back for England in 1st test against South Africa
LONDON (AP) Gary Ballance has won an England recall for the first test against South Africa, with the uncapped Toby Roland-Jones and spinner Liam Dawson also included in the squad.
Thursday's match at Lord's will be Joe Root's first since succeeding Alastair Cook as England captain and his Yorkshire teammate Ballance, the second highest scorer in this season's English county championship with 815 runs, will slot in at number three.
The left-handed batsman was named in the 12-man squad on Saturday after making just 24 runs in four torturous innings in Bangladesh in October.
Seam bowler Roland-Jones was picked for his home ground, with fellow seamers Chris Woakes and Jake Ball ruled out, while slow left-armer Dawson is retained ahead of Adil Rashid after making his debut in Chennai in Cook's final test as skipper in India.
Stuart Broad has been passed fit after a troublesome foot problem and Mark Wood is back for the first time since October 2015, having overcome a series of injury problems.
''There is great excitement around the first test of the summer and with the start of a new era under the captaincy of Joe Root this is an exciting time for English cricket,'' national selector James Whitaker said.
''Gary Ballance ... has been in fantastic touch with the bat in the championship, averaging over 100. He deserves to be included and we feel that he will add maturity and experience to our middle-order.''
Joe Root (capt), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Stuart Broad, Toby Roland-Jones, Mark Wood, James Anderson.