South Africa announce squad for first two Test matches against England
AB de Villiers will keep wicket for the opening two Test matches against England (image via: skysports)

South Africa have named a 13-man squad for the opening two Test matches ahead of their upcoming series against England

Hashim Amla will captain the side, with AB de Villiers called to keep wicket after the selectors decided against naming Quinton de Kock or Dane Vilas in the squad. 

Spinners Imran Tahir and Simon Harmer have been dropped following the series defeat in India, with Dane Piedt chosen as the specialist spinner for the first two games of the four-match series. 

The first Test will start on Boxing Day in Durban, with the second Test match in Cape Town starting on January 2nd. 

Steyn included after injury whilst Philander misses out

In mixed news for South Africa's seamers, Dale Steyn is expected to be fit for the start of the series, whilst Vernon Philander will definitely miss the opening two Test matches. 

Steyn picked up a groin injury during the second Test in India, and didn't bowl for the remainder of the series, but is expected to be ready for the opening match against England which starts on Boxing Day. 

Dale Steyn will lead the South African attack against England (image via: zimbio)

Philander, meanwhile, will miss the opening two Test matches after picking up a freak ankle injury during the India series whilst playing football in the warm-up. 

The group of seamers still looks strong despite Philander's loss, with Steyn joining Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott and youngster Kagiso Rabada who has impressed in international cricket after playing a starring role in last year's under-19 World Cup. 

De Villiers to take gloves 

After a number of disastrous innings in India, South Africa have made a move to strengthen their batting line-up.

Stiaan van Zyl and Dean Elgar are expected to open the batting, with Temba Bavuma moving down into the middle-order alongside Amla, de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy who will likely bat at seven.  

Quinton de Kock is unfortuante to miss out after finding form in the one-day series against India, as well as being the leading run-scorer in the t20 RamSlam competition. 

He is named in a strong looking South Africa A team who will face England a week before the opening test, which includes Wayne Parnell, Chris Morris and Marchant de Lange who have all played international cricket over the past 12 months. 

Squads

South Africa squad for opening two Test matches: Hashim Amla (capt), AB de Villiers (WK), Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl.

South Africa A squad for warm-up game: Stephen Cook, Reeza Hendricks, Rilee Rossouw, Quinton de Kock, Omphile Ramela, Khaya Zondo, Dane Vilas (capt & WK), Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj, Chris Morris, Marchant De Lange.

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