Australia put faith in youth
New-look hosts aiming to avoid whitewash by South Africa
A fter Faf du Plessis left the media conference room, his place was taken by Australia captain Steve Smith to talk about his much-changed line-up and whether they can avoid an unprecedented Test series sweep at home against South Africa.
Three uncapped batsmen have been selected in Australia’s top six, Matthew Wade was recalled as wicketkeeper at the expense of Peter Nevill and Jackson Bird was recalled to the pace attack.
England-born 20-year-old Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson were the three incoming batsmen, who earned their caps on the basis of domestic form, will have the added pressure of dealing with the daynight playing conditions in Adelaide.
The overhaul leaves 30-year-old vice-captain David Warner as the oldest player in the team.
“I’ve almost felt a little shift over the last couple of days in attitude and energy from what the new guys have brought in,” said Smith.
“I’m actually really excited now about the young guys coming into the group and what they bring.”
The new players eased into training almost unnoticed, with most of the attention on South Africa skipper Du Plessis (right).
He was found guilty of ball tampering for using ‘an artificial substance’ – the mint in his mouth – to change the condition of the ball as he shined it during the second Test. Du Plessis doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, saying cricketers all over the world do the same thing. He was fined but avoided suspension after being found guilty by the International Cricket Council. “I was very surprised to see the changes to that extent,” Du Plessis said of the Australian line-up. “That brings pleasure to see what we’re doing is creating something in the Australian team they feel they need to change.”
Du Plessis added a 3-0 clean sweep is the main driving force in Adelaide.
“As a leader, you want to be part of creating history – that’s something we have done,” he said.
“I don’t want to miss out on that. We’ve played very good cricket, we’ve got something going and it’s important to keep that going.”
Du Plessis didn’t forecast too much change for South Africa, except for a likely temporary change in how they shine the ball to keep it swinging.
“Mints are just for bad breath now - not for shining the ball,” joked the Proteas skipper.
“Possibly for this one game, I need to stay away from the mints.”