Alex Hales    Getty Images
Alex Hales Getty Images

Since 2012, Alex Hales will become the eighth opener to open the innings alongside Alastair Cook, while Nick Compton will come one drop, replacing Ian Bell on the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in the 1st Test at Durban on Saturday. Hales inclusion is a welcome freshness to the team. He is the only batsman to score international centuries in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 (T20). After scoring a half century in the warm-up game against South Africa A, Hales has already started the tour on a positive note. FULL SCORECARD: South Africa vs England, 1st Test at Durban

After opening the game against Pakistan, Moeen Ali will now move to slot eight and James Taylor will be at number five. England will miss out on their fast pace bowler James Anderson, giving way to Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan or Mark Footitt and Mark Wood has been replaced by Steven Finn. As reported on cricbuzz.com, Stuart Broad said on Friday, It’s a shame for Jimmy, but we’ve got some really good guys coming in to replace him. Steven Finn was the standout bowler last week [against South Africa A, when he took six wickets]. The other guys have all put in performances throughout this tour. Whoever gets the nod on Christmas Day, it will be a nice Christmas present. ALSO READ: Alex Hales deserves chance in Tests: Stuart Broad

Broad believes his team is strong for the 1st Test against South Africa. Woakes has been a consistent player in the United Arab Emirates one-dayers against Pakistan and has continued the rhythm at his home ground as well. Finn has bowled really well last week and he has shown good results through his fitness Test. England is surely looking to seal this year on a positive note.