Ben Foakes returns to England's playing XI for first Test against South Africa

Ben Stokes's team hope to carry momentum from memorable win against India last month

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England have recalled fit-again wicketkeeper Ben Foakes for the first Test against South Africa at Lord's, which begins on Wednesday.

Surrey wicketkeeper Foakes is the only change from the team that defeated India in the postponed fifth Test at Edgbaston last month after he missed the match after testing positive for Covid-19.

In the fifth Test at Edgbaston, Jonny Bairstow smashed centuries in both innings while Joe Root hit a superb unbeaten ton in the second innings as England chased down a record target of 378. That victory was England's fourth win in as many Tests under their new leadership pair of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

There was no place in the XI for the first Test for Ollie Robinson, with the Sussex seamer unable to force his way into the side, which boasts a pace attack of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Matthew Potts, supplemented by all-rounder Stokes.

Meanwhile, Stokes admitted taking some satisfaction from hearing South Africa counterpart Dean Elgar wade into the debate about England's new aggressive approach to batting in Test cricket.

Last week, the Proteas skipper said he had "absolutely no interest" in England's rebooted style, which has delivered four wins out of four so far, but also suggested he was sceptical about how successful it would be in the long term.

Invited to respond to Elgar's statements, Stokes said: "The opposition seem to be doing a lot of talking about it at the moment, we don't really speak about that much. We just concentrate on what we do.

"We don't dive into it too much, but I'm happy for Dean and the South Africa team to say they're not interested and then keep talking about it.

"We've got a style of play, they've got a style of play. At the end of the day it's bat against ball and whoever plays best over a Test match is more than likely to win."

Meanwhile, South Africa spearhead bowler Kagiso Rabada is doubtful for the first game of the three-Test series with an ankle injury.

"I'm hoping that he pulls through," said Proteas coach Mark Boucher. "Rabada is a massive player for us as we all know so for him to be part of the final XI would be very special for us."

The second Test will be played in Manchester from August 25 and the third at The Oval from September 8.

England XI for first Test: Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes (wk), Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson

Updated: August 16, 2022, 12:49 PM
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