England in South Africa: James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow & Mark Wood return

England bowler James Anderson
James Anderson has taken 575 Test wickets, the fourth highest tally of all time

James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood have returned to the England Test squad for the tour of South Africa starting this month.

Seamer Anderson, 37, has not played for England since suffering a calf injury in the first Ashes Test in August.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow was dropped for the recent 1-0 series defeat in New Zealand.

Pace bowler Mark Wood has been out since the World Cup final in July because of side and knees injuries.

The uncapped Saqib Mahmood is the only member of the squad for the recent 1-0 series defeat in New Zealand not to be included in the 17-man touring party.

Moeen Ali, who took a break from Test cricket after being dropped during the Ashes, remains unavailable.

England will play four Tests - the first starting on 26 December - three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s in South Africa.

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England Test squad for South Africa tour: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope (wk), Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker, bowled only four overs in the Ashes opener against Australia at Edgbaston.

He played two games for Lancashire second XI later in August, but his season was ended when he felt pain in the calf during the second of those.

Part of his recovery has involved using the facilities at Manchester City, and he has been continuing his rehabilitation - along with Wood - at a specialist pace bowling camp in Cape Town, South Africa.

Wood's most recent Test came in the West Indies in February.

"It is not predicted that Mark will be available for selection for the earliest matches," said national selector Ed Smith.

"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."

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