Des­per­ate Aussies roll the dice to stop ram­pant Proteas

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Cri­sis-torn Aus­tralia will at­tempt to pre­vent ram­pant South Africa from an un­prece­dented se­ries clean sweep in tomorrow’s day-night third Test in Ade­laide af­ter a team shake-up of his­toric pro­por­tions.

Stung by two hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feats in Perth and Ho­bart, the Aussies have made six changes in a bid to stop the rot and fight off the Proteas’ quest to be­come the first tour­ing team to sweep a se­ries in Aus­tralia.

It is a seis­mic se­lec­tion switch in the wake of last week’s sud­den res­ig­na­tion of chair­man of se­lec­tors Rod Marsh and in­ten­si­fy­ing pres­sure on the game’s top of­fi­cials and coach Dar­ren Lehmann.

Not since only two play­ers from the fifth Test against Eng­land in Au­gust 1977 made it into the team for the first Test against In­dia three months later, af­ter World Se­ries Cricket re­belled against the es­tab­lish­ment, has there been such a clean-out of the Aus­tralian side.

The last time there were as many as five changes mid-sea­son-which is likely given ei­ther pace­men Jack­son Bird or Chadd Say­ers is likely to be 12th man in Ade­laide — was in the 1977-78 se­ries against In­dia af­ter an in­nings de­feat in Syd­ney.

Se­lec­tors, with Trevor Hohns tak­ing over from Marsh as in­terim chair­man, named three young bats­men-English-born Matt Ren­shaw, Peter Hand­scomb and Nic Maddin­son-to make their de­buts and re­called Say­ers, Bird and wick­et­keeper Matthew Wade.

It was a de­ci­sive and dras­tic in­ter­ven­tion by the un­der-fire se­lec­tion panel in the wake of Aus­tralia’s fifth straight heavy Test de­feat, in­clud­ing the 3-0 se­ries drub­bing in Sri Lanka last Au­gust.

“I’m not for one minute go­ing to sug­gest an im­me­di­ate turn­around,” Hohns said.

“Pa­tience will be re­quired but we are ob­vi­ously hope­ful that these play­ers can gel to­gether and ul­ti­mately stop the down­ward los­ing mo­men­tum we are cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

“It’s no se­cret that our Test team has not func­tioned or per­formed to the level we ex­pect. “We ac­cept that a lot of the crit­i­cism that has come our way has been war­ranted, how­ever, I ask that every­body take a deep breath and get be­hind these blokes in what is go­ing to be a very test­ing time for them.”

The re­in­force­ments will be aim­ing to bol­ster Aus­tralia’s in­sipid bat­ting, which was routed for 85 by South Africa in Ho­bart af­ter suf­fer­ing a hu­mil­i­at­ing 10 for 86 col­lapse in the first in­nings at Perth.

Lehmann said it was im­por­tant he and fel­low coaches in­stil con­fi­dence and pos­i­tiv­ity in the new-look squad.

“I’ve never seen a side so hurt af­ter Ho­bart, an Aus­tralian side. We’ve got to pick them up, get them pos­i­tive,” he said.

South Africa have prob­lems of their own with skip­per Faf du Plessis found guilty late Tues­day of an ICC charge of ball tam­per­ing in the Ho­bart Test.

Du Plessis, who was fined 50 per­cent of his match fee in 2013 for ball tam­per­ing in the sec­ond Test against Pak­istan, was fined 100 per­cent of his Ho­bart match fee but was cleared to play in this week’s third Test.

Height­en­ing ten­sions ahead of the game, South African se­cu­rity staff shoved an Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion reporter up against a glass door as he at­tempted to in­ter­view du Plessis at Ade­laide air­port on Mon­day, with the team ac­cus­ing the me­dia of “ha­rass­ment”. De­spite this, the South Africans, with their pace trio Ver­non Phi­lan­der, Kag­iso Rabada and Kyle Ab­bott dom­i­nat­ing the Aus­tralian bat­ting, will fancy their chances bowl­ing with the pink ball in swing­ing con­di­tions un­der lights at Ade­laide Oval. It will be only the sec­ond day-night Test in Aus­tralia af­ter the home side thrillingly beat New Zealand by three wick­ets on only the third day in Ade­laide last year.


Aus­tralian (from) - David Warner, Matt Ren­shaw, Us­man Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Peter Hand­scomb, Nic Maddin­son, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Ha­zle­wood, Nathan Lyon, Jack­son Bird, Chadd Say­ers.

South Africa (from) - Stephen Cook, Dean El­gar, Hashim Amla, JP Du­miny, Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Quin­ton de Kock, Ver­non Phi­lan­der, Ke­shav Ma­haraj, Kag­iso Rabada, Kyle Ab­bott, Morne Morkel. Um­pires: Nigel Llong (ENG) and Richard Ket­tle­bor­ough (ENG).


SYD­NEY: This file photo taken on Jan­uary 2, 2016 shows Aus­tralian cricket se­lec­tor Trevor Hohns (L) speak­ing with team cap­tain Steve Smith (C) and chief coach Dar­ren Lehmann dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion in Syd­ney. Cri­sis-torn Aus­tralia will at­tempt to pre­vent ram­pant South Africa from an un­prece­dented se­ries clean sweep in the up­com­ing day-night third Test in Ade­laide.

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