Aus­tralia put faith in youth

New-look hosts aim­ing to avoid white­wash by South Africa

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

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.”

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