Three into one won't go: Contenders vying to face South Africa

Tim Bresnan

The burly Yorkshire all-rounder has never let England down. Indeed, his record is incredible. He had never been on the losing side in a Test match until last week's thumping by South Africa, and his bowling and batting averages currently show him to be a world-class all-rounder, although it is early days in his career. England will be loath to leave him out on his home ground (Headingley) and the smart money is that he will play.

Tests: 15. Runs: 390. Average: 39.00. Wickets: 56. Average: 28.12

Steven Finn

The Middlesex paceman has been smashing down the door to get into the side with his recent displays, particularly in the one-day arena. He is the Steve Harmison of his era, someone who can bowl with real pace and who can unsettle the best batsmen with the bounce he generates from his 6ft 6in frame. He would be in almost every other side in the world, and the feeling persists that England must get him in sooner rather than later.

Tests: 14. Wickets: 56.

Average: 27.42

Graham Onions

The wiry Durham seamer with the whippy action is another who would walk into most other international teams. His wicket-to-wicket bowling is ideally suited to Leeds, where accuracy is at a premium, but the same could be said of Bresnan, who is probably ahead of him in the pecking order. Will soon turn 30 and, unluckily, seems destined to be a nearly man where England are concerned.

Tests: 9. Wickets: 32 Average: 29.90