Toss England chose to bowl vs South Africa

England have won the toss and opted to bowl first in the Test against South Africa in Taunton.

England have handed a surprise international debut to 20-year-old quick Issy Wong, who was promoted from travelling reserve after Emily Arlott pulled out of the 13-strong squad as she continues to recover from the after-effects of Covid. Before Arlott’s withdrawal, Lisa Keightley, England’s head coach, had said she planned to manage Wong’s workloads with a view to her featuring during England’s white-ball games this summer. But she has plumped for the youngster ahead of Freya Davies, who has played 24 white-ball games for England.

Another seamer earning her first England cap is Lauren Bell as the home side look to life beyond veterans Katherine Brunt, who has retired from Tests, and Anya Shrubsole, who announced her international retirement after the World Cup.

As expected, Emma Lamb will play her first Test, partnering Tammy Beaumont at the top of the order, while allrounder Alice Davidson-Richards has earned her Test cap, having played all of her six white-ball games for England in 2018. Offspinner Charlie Dean misses out, with left-armer Sophie Ecclestone set to carry the bulk of the spin-bowling load on a green-tinged pitch.
South Africa have nine players making their Test debuts in this game, their country’s first women’s Test since 2014. Only Marizanne Kapp and Lizelle Lee have any Test experience among their XI with Trisha Chetty, who has played two Tests, left out of the side in favour of wicketkeeper Sinalo Jafta.

The fine conditions which greeted the toss gave way to heavier, overcast conditions with light rain beginning to fall just as the players gathered on the field for the national anthems. More rain is forecast throughout the match, which kicks off a multi-format series between the two sides which also features three ODIs and three T20Is in July.

England: Tammy Beaumont, Emma Lamb, Heather Knight (capt), Nat Sciver, Sophia Dunkley, Amy Jones (wk), Alice Davidson-Richards, Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross, Issy Wong, Lauren Bell

South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt, Andrie Steyn, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus (capt), Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp, Anneke Bosch, Nadine De Klerk, Sinalo Jafta (wk), Tumi Sekhukhune, Nonkululeko Mlaba