JOHANNESBURG: England captain Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat first in the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers on Friday.
Rain delayed the start of play by three hours and 20 minutes reducing the possible overs for the day to 65.
England captain Joe Root, winning the toss for the fourth time in the series, said he had been influenced by his experience in the first Test at Centurion where he decided to bowl and England were beaten on a pitch which deteriorated.
“There are already some cracks around,” he said.
England, who have come back from defeat in that opening Test to lead the series 2-1, made one change to the side that won the third Test in Port Elizabeth by an innings and 53 runs, with Chris Woakes coming in for off-spinner Dominic Bess.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer was not considered after failing to recover sufficiently from an elbow injury.
“We have five seamers,” said Root.
“It was a very difficult decision. We couldn´t guarantee Jofra would get through the whole game. It´s very disappointing for him.”
South Africa made three changes to the side that capitulated in Port Elizabeth.
Left-arm fast bowler Beuran Hendricks was selected to make his debut in place of the suspended Kagiso Rabada, while all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius replaced left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and batsman Temba Bavuma returned in place of Zubayr Hamza.
The match marks the final Test for South African opening bowler Vernon Philander who is retiring at the end of the series.
“I really hope he can finish strongly,” said Proteas´ captain Faf du Plessis who has now lost even successive tosses.
“He deserves all the accolades he has had. I hope he puts in a performance and has the fairytale finish.”
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Dean Elgar, Pieter Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Beuran Hendricks
England: Joe Root (captain), Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wkt), Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad
Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (AUS), Joel Wilson (WIS)
TV umpire: Rod Tucker (AUS)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)