Dawson in Lord's Test XI

New England captain Joe Root had plenty to smile about at his Lord's press conference

From the moment he bounced out to the middle in a crisis in Nagpur in 2012 - relishing the confrontation and scoring 10 runs off his first 10 balls in Test cricket - Root has personified best practice in cricket.

The first of four Tests between England and South Africa gets underway Thursday July 6th with Dawson preferred over paceman Toby Roland-Jones. After suffering a heel injury during his county match against Leicestershire, Broad's participation in the first Test was in doubt.

England have selected Hampshire spinner Liam Dawson to play in his first test match on home soil when the series against South Africa starts at Lord's on Thursday, said captain Joe Root. Broad, who has taken 368 wickets in 102 Tests, spent couple of weeks on the sidelines before making a comeback in his county's Royal London One-Day Cup final.

"You look at how he [Ballance] has performed this year and the amount of runs he's scored has been phenomenal", Root told a media conference.

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"I think it will take his game to the next level, if he can go any higher". It's pulled up really well.

And Root, who will captain England for the first time at Lord's after replacing Alastair Cook as skipper earlier in the year, believes his Yorkshire team-mate can thrive on the worldwide stage. We are training this (Tuesday) afternoon and tomorrow and I am really confident. It's a really huge opportunity for him and I am sure it's one he will take'. With Jonny Bairstow and Stokes forming the chunk of the middle-order, England have opted to go with just four front-line batsmen and five bowlers for the game against South Africa.

"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". His record is very strong. "I think it will be an exciting series to watch", he concluded.

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