Ian Bell
Ian Bell out of Test squad following series of sub-par performancesGetty

Ian Bell has been dropped from the England Test squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa. Batsman Nick Compton and Gary Ballance have been recalled, although there is still no place for Adil Rashid. Pace bowler Mark Wood was ruled out due to an ongoing ankle problem.

Uncapped pace bowler Mark Footit is also included after featuring in the England Ashes squad over the summer.

Bell sits in eighth place in England's all-time runs standings but has contributed just one Test century since July 2014.

"Ian Bell has been an outstanding player for many years and undoubtedly still has plenty to offer England in the future," said national selector James Whitaker.

"It was clearly a difficult decision but he has struggled for runs in recent series and we felt that it was the right time for him to take a break and spend time working on his game out of the spotlight."

England begin their four-Test series against South Africa on 26 December.

England Test squad: Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire, wk), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wk), Nick Compton (Middlesex), Mark Footitt (Surrey), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).