England v South Africa: Liam Dawson picked ahead of Toby Roland-Jones

England South Africa Test Cricket 2017 Lord's Test Test Match EngvSA ENGvsSA Joe Root

England South Africa Test Cricket 2017 Lord's Test Test Match EngvSA ENGvsSA Joe Root

He struggled against the pace attacks of New Zealand and Australia in 2015 and was dropped after two Ashes Tests, before earning his place back past year.

He takes over a team humiliated 4-0 last winter by India and looking to use a seven-Test summer - a three-match series against West Indies follows South Africa - to build towards an Ashes winter. After suffering a heel injury during his county match against Leicestershire, Broad's participation in the first Test was in doubt.

Joe Root has backed Gary Ballance to continue his prolific County Championship form after being selected in England's team to face South Africa on Thursday.

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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.

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.

"A lot of people asked questions about the last time he played for England but I look at his game now, as do the other selectors, and he is a completely different player". It's pulled up really well.

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Root, who has waited five months to become captain after Alastair Cook stepped down in February, has seen the left-hander's resurgence first hand.

He told Sky Sports: 'Gary has been in great form this summer and we know he can do it in global cricket. "He's an attacking cricketer, quite aggressive in the way he plays, so I think the team will take that sort of shape", added Broad. It's a really huge opportunity for him and I am sure it's one he will take'.

"He was announced what seems a long time ago and now he gets his opportunity to put things into place, and what a series to be able to do that".

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"South Africa have a really good record in England and are a very risky team". His record is very strong.

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