Alastair Cook's century gives England a solid start
Zeenews Sports Bureau
London: It was expected to be a close battle between two strong sides, but Day 1 clearly belonged to England.
The ball was doing something in the first 2-3 hours, but the top order batted solidly to deny any advantage to the bowlers.
Later in the day, batting became easier and except Strauss, who got out in the first over, every English batsman found the going easy. Steyn and Philander largely disappointed while an erratic Morkel was amongst the wickets.
South Africa have their task cut out as a certain Alastair Cook is still batting resolutely on 114 at the end of day's play.
Update: Kallis sends Pietersen packing for 42(72) [4s-4] with the score on 251/3. Alastair Cook was on 108 (250) at this point.
Update: Jonathan Trott got out on 71. Jonathan Trott c de Villiers b Morne Morkel 71(162) [4s-9]
Update: A good session for England. They have not lost a single wicket and both batsmen have gone past their fifties. The South African bowlers have looked listless and none have even threatened to take a wicket. If one expected the first day of this Test to be filled with hostile swing bowling, ferocious bouncer barrages, they will be disappointed as this is a very flat deck and batting looks easy. Join us in 20 minutes for the final session.
Update: Jonathan Trott reaches his 11th Test fifty and his second against South Africa as Cook and Trott carry on with a solid partnership.
Update: Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook completed their 100-run partnership in the second session with Cook reaching his 30th Test Fifty in the 31st over.
Update: Morne Morkel dismissed Andrew Strauss for a duck in the first over but that was the only success that came South Africa's way.
FIRST SESSION: England 70/1
Morne and Philander didn't make the batsmen play enough after that and Steyn didn't look too threatening. Cook and Trott have been patient and look good to make use of the start they have got
Hosts England have won the toss and elected to bat first in the first Test of the three-match series against South Africa at The Oval on Thursday.
England have included pace bowler Tim Bresnan in their playing XI.
The series is very important as England will look to hold on to their number one position in Tests while South Africa, who are currently number three, would look to reach the numero uno spot by defeating the hosts.
Interesting battles are on the cards throughout the whole series as South Africa have not lost a away series since 2006 while no one could overpower the hosts England since 2008 on their own soil.
England paceman James Anderson thinks that England’s bowlers will face their sternest examination in their upcoming three Test series against the South African batting line-up, featuring four players ranked in the world’s top 10.
There is hardly any doubt that the series would be an interesting one. Proteas all rounder Jacques Kallis has said the result of the Test series between South Africa and England will come down to key moments.
England: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), Jacques Rudolph, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir