Cricket: New skipper Joe Root confirms his first England team as he prepares to make captaincy debut

Joe Root
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New England Test captain Joe Root has announced Hampshire all-rounder Liam Dawson will face South Africa in the first Investec Test at Lord's.

Dawson made his Test debut against India in Chennai last December and has got the nod ahead of Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones to retain his place on Thursday.

Root, named as Alastair Cook's successor five months ago, will lead an England side featuring two spin bowlers - Dawson and Moeen Ali - in a Lord's Test for the first time since 1993.

Recalled Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance is set to bat at three, with Root at four followed by Jonny Bairstow.

The new captain confirmed, as widely-expected, that Dawson has edged out Roland-Jones - who would have been making a Test debut on his home ground.

"Liam is going to play, and Toby is the unfortunate one to miss out," said Root.

"I look at the team and I think it's got great balance. The guys are really ready and looking forward to tomorrow.

"Liam's character is exceptional. I thought the way he bowled in India, and the way he's performed throughout this season, has been brilliant.

"He will obviously bring us a lot of control and a little bit of depth in terms of batting as well."

Root hopes his team can retain the aggressive approach which has served them well in white-ball cricket over the past two years.

"Of course it is a different format, and at times that might not allow it, but I would like to think so," said the 26-year-old Yorkshireman.

''One of the things is to be quite natural in terms of the way I will go about things.

''I would like to think I am quite proactive to my approach to batting in cricket, so I hope that will rub off on the rest of the lads and the way we go about things out on the field.''

Root has confidence too that Ballance can deliver higher up the order.

He added: ''He has had his success in an England shirt when he has batted at three, so his game is in good order.

"He has played very well this season and does look a different player to last time he represented England.

"I know the sort of person he is, and I am sure he is determined to show everyone he is capable of performing at this level."

Root revealed he has taken plenty of advice over what may lie ahead when he walks out at Lord's in the captain's blazer for the first time.

"It has felt forever since that announcement, so now I am really looking forward to the next five days,'' he said on BBC Sport.

''I have been speaking to a few people, and thinking about how I want things to go because I want to be quite natural and instinctive when I get out there, with a good balance of both.

''I spoke to a few of the players, ex-captains as well, and it was nice to pick their brains to see what they went through in their tenure, to get prepared for what is around the corner.

''Most England captains have had something to deal with, but I just see it as a great opportunity, it is a very exciting group of players, and around the squad as well, so I am really excited of what we can produce in the future.''