England v South Africa: Sir Ian Botham's first Test and series betting

England v South Africa: Sir Ian Botham's first Test and series betting

Joe Root expects England's Test team to put right the wrongs of previous year and has tipped the recalled Gary Ballance - the first big decision of his fledgling captaincy tenure - to demonstrate he is different player to the one dropped from the side in the winter.

Stuart Broad has taken 368 wickets in 102 Tests he has played so far.

Ballance returns to the worldwide stage after being absent since last October and will come in at the fall of the first wicket, with Joe Root dropping down a place to number four in his first Test as captain and Jonny Bairstow at five.

After winning the ODI and T20I series against the Proteas, England will miss the services of Chris Woakes and Jake Ball as the two are yet to recover from injuries.

"I think it will take his game to the next level, if he can go any higher".

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South Africa are more than usually vulnerable because have their most inexperienced batting line-up of the past 20 years - Hashim Amla stands out - and a new captain in Dean Elgar for this match, before Faf du Plessis returns from the hard birth of his first child. It's pulled up really well.

Alastair Cook He's back in the ranks, which can be a problem for some former captains, but not for Cook, given his character. Root said: "I wouldn't have taken the job on if I didn't think I was capable of doing it and capable of taking the side forward". We are training this (Tuesday) afternoon and tomorrow and I am really confident.

"I've been playing county cricket since early April so I've had quite a lot of red-ball cricket, so I am not concerned about the workload and it was great to have the intensity of the Lord's final to put the body to the test", Broad told Sky Sports. "He was announced a long time ago and now he has the chance to put things into place".

If Dawson does play against South Africa it will beef up the England batting with the four specialist seamers in the squad not the best with the willow in hand.

He added: "Not really, I haven't even thought about that".

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