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Anderson, Bairstow recalled for South Africa Tests
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Anderson, Bairstow recalled for South Africa Tests

James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood have returned to England's Test squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

Anderson, 37, has finally recovered from his long struggle with a calf injury that ruled him out of the New Zealand Tests.

He last turned out for England during the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston in August where he could manage to deliver only four overs before withdrawing from the field.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow has made a comeback to the Test side following his lean run in England's home summer leading to the selectors dropping him from the team.

Bairstow's omission in the New Zealand series was a decision taken by national selector Ed Smith in the hope that it would allow him to recoup his form and confidence.

Wood, on the other hand, could not feature in the Ashes owing to a knee injury and side strain he sustained during the World Cup.

The tearaway speedster still remains doubtful for the early part of the tour, Smith confirmed.

"It is not predicted that Mark (Wood) will be available for selection for the earliest matches," Smith said.

"However, he will travel with the team and continue his rehab work with the medical staff on tour.

"There is no exact date given for his return, but the medical team is working towards him becoming fully available for selection during the tour."

The inclusion of Anderson and Wood means uncapped seamer Saqib Mahmood misses out from the 17-man contingent, which departs for South Africa on December 13.

Moeen Ali's break from Test cricket has continued to prolong as Jack Leach and Matthew Parkinson serve as the spin bowling options for England.

Youngsters Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley have retained their spots in the side despite unimpressive starts to their respective Test careers.

England will take on South Africa in the first match of their four-Test series on December 26 at Centurion.

England squad

Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Dominic Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

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