DURBAN: South Africa won the toss and sent England in to bat in overcast conditions on the first day of the first test at Kingsmead in Durban on Saturday.
Opening batsman Alex Hales was picked to make his debut for England and will face the South African quick bowlers on what's likely to be a pace-friendly pitch. England also selected Chris Woakes to replace injured seam bowler James Anderson.
Top-ranked South Africa welcomed back fast bowler Dale Steyn after a spell out with injury, while A.B. de Villiers was the wicketkeeper.
Both teams selected three seam bowlers and a spinner in their attacks. For England, Woakes joined Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and offspinner Moeen Ali. South Africa had Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kyle Abbott, and slow bowler Dane Piedt.
Play was delayed for around half an hour on the first day of the series because of overnight rain, which was expected to make the pitch even more suited to quick bowling. The teams will play a four-test series with the other games in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Centurion.
South Africa: Hashim Amla (captain), Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl, A.B. de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, J.P. Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Taylor, Nick Compton, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Steven Finn.