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Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 11:50 UK

England recall Harmison and Broad

Fourth npower Test, The Oval: England v South Africa
Play starts Thursday 1100 BST

Audio commentary on BBC Sport website & BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra


Steve Harmison
Harmison was dropped after an ineffective first Test in New Zealand

Pacemen Steve Harmison and Stuart Broad have been recalled to the England side for the final Test against South Africa at The Oval, starting on Thursday.

Ryan Sidebottom and Ravi Bopara have been left out as England seek to restore pride in Kevin Pietersen's first match as Test captain.

England will bank on five batsmen with Ian Bell replacing former skipper Michael Vaughan at number three.

Andrew Flintoff will bat at six and wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose at seven.

The fourth Test is due to get underway at 1100 BST but it may be a frustrating day for fans and players alike as rain is expected to interrupt play.

Pietersen, named captain on Monday following Vaughan's resignation after the series was lost on Saturday, is confident his side can bounce back from the disappointment of their five-wicket defeat at Edgbaston.

He said: "I had a good discussion with the guys and one of the key factors was about playing with passion and pride, as if it's your last Test.

"I want them to come off at the end of the day having given their all for England, to try and put smiles on the faces of people in this wonderful country."

The new captain said the bold move was to maximise the chances of taking 20 wickets, something England have been unable to do so far in the series.

Pietersen is looking to inject 'passion'

"I've given the responsibility to batters to score runs," he said. "Freddie I've spoken to at great lengths and he is happy to bat at six and Ian Bell wants the responsibility at three."

Harmison has returned to the team for the first time since the tour of New Zealand in the winter, and Pietersen has been encouraged by the Durham fast bowler's form.

"I've had a real good relationship with Steve since I came into the England side," he said. "I said to him 'You're playing for England' he seems as excited as anything and has a bit of bounce in his step.

"Steve is as ready as I've ever seen him. I had to unfortunately face him at the Edgbaston nets and he almost took my head off. He's always awkward and ugly to face - I want to make it uncomfortable for the South African batters - Steve is my man."

Pietersen spoke of his delight at Broad's recall after the 22-year-old was left out for the third Test after struggling with the ball in the first two Tests.

England training
Pietersen shares a light-hearted moment with his team at the nets
"I like him as a player and a bloke," the skipper enthused. "He's a positive young player who learns quickly. I see a lot of mature signs in him and he brings us extra batting with strength in depth at the bottom of the order."

Pietersen was also encouraged by his early dealings with coach Peter Moores. "Mooresy and I are singing from the same hymn sheet, it's all positive," he said. "It's a great relationship we're building and we were pretty clear about the team we wanted."

All-rounder Flintoff is keen to end a run of eight England Test defeats in his last eight appearances when the final Test of the series with South Africa starts.

Smith is curious about Pietersen's captaincy

He returned from ankle surgery to play in the England team beaten by South Africa at Headingley and Edgbaston.

His last previous home appearance was in a 2006 loss to Sri Lanka, and he led the side beaten 5-0 in Australia.

He said: "Two defeats is not the way I envisaged coming back with England. I didn't wait 18 months to get beaten."

Pietersen is confident his key all-rounder can recapture the dominant form he showed with bat and ball before his injury problems, and added: "I have been really impressed with the way Fred has batted since he got back.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Jamie Lillywhite
"The control he showed at the start (of the first innings at Edgbaston) where he got himself in, unfortunately he had to bat with the tail and had to get on with it instead of building a really good 100.

"That's something Freddie wants to do and that's something I want to see him do.

"If you look at our batting line-up with Broad at eight, it's pretty strong.

"I do have faith in Fred. It's a responsibility he says he wants to take on."

Rival and counterpart Graeme Smith said of Pietersen's appointment: "There are a lot of people in South Africa who feel quite strongly about it, but for us it's about being professional, putting emotions aside and focusing on the cricket."

Smith is intrigued to see how Pietersen fares and added: "He's always been a very single-minded guy. He backs his ability and a lot of the time he comes off. He's become a really top-class cricketer.

"It's going to be interesting now that he's been thrown a lot of curve balls."

Pietersen is sure to face a formidable challenge from the South Africans and Smith said: "He's got a one-off Test match against us and he'll obviously be hugely motivated.

"He'll be excited, he'll be nervous and he'll have a lot of energy.

"It's about sustaining that afterwards. For us, the best way to keep him under pressure is to beat England. Like we did to Michael (Vaughan), we kept him on the back foot in terms of his performance and as a captain you know that pressure grows very quickly."

Dale Steyn is still ruled out with a thumb injury so South Africa are expected to name an unchanged side.


England: Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen (captain), Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Tim Ambrose (wkt), Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steve Harmison, Monty Panesar.

South Africa (probable): Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher (wkt), Morne Morkel, Paul Harris, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) & SJ Davis (Australia).

Third umpire: PJ Hartley (England)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).


see also
Pietersen appointment is 'brave'
04 Aug 08 |  England
Pietersen named England captain
04 Aug 08 |  England
Bopara replaces Vaughan in squad
04 Aug 08 |  England
Injured Steyn out of fourth Test
03 Aug 08 |  South Africa
Vaughan quits as England captain
04 Aug 08 |  England
Collingwood explains resignation
03 Aug 08 |  England
South Africa in England in 2008
02 Aug 08 |  Cricket


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