Steven Smith-Led Australia Name Three Debutants For Adelaide Test vs South Africa
As many as three players will make their debut when Australia take on South Africa in the third and the final Test to salvage some pride. Australian cricket is in a turmoil after Steven Smith’s men were thrashed poorly in the first two Tests and a wholesale change was on the cards. The selection panel led by Trevor Hohns, who replaced Rod Marsh as the chief of selectors after Hobart loss, brought in six players out of which five of them will feature in the playing eleven as Aussies will look to avoid a whitewash at home for the first time.
Smith confirmed the playing eleven for the day-night Test in Adelaide. Fast bowler Jackson Bird was included in the team ahead of Chadd Sayers after impressing in the two day-night Sheffield Shield matches.
“(Bird) took a five-for in the last Test match he played, he’s bowled well with the pink ball in the (day-night) Shield games that he’s played, bowled well in the nets out the back and deserves an opportunity,” Smith said at the press conference. “Unlucky for Chadd missing out on his home ground but we’ve gone with Jackson Bird.”
Matthew Wade will replace Peter Nevill as the wicketkeeper in the team. Apart from Bird and Wade, three batsman Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson will be making their debut in Adelaide.
“We’ve obviously made a lot of changes, and some young guys have come into the squad,” Smith said. “This series has been disappointing the way it’s gone for us. I’m actually really excited about the young guys coming into the group and what they bring.”
Smith hopes Maddison, who is known more for his batting prowess in the T20 formats, will play his natural game in Tests too.
“On his day he can tear any attack apart. The selectors have given him an opportunity to come in and play at No. 6 and sum up the conditions and play with a bit of freedom at the same time. He’s developed his defence over the last couple of years,” Smith said.
“I haven’t seen him a heap of him playing in the last couple of years, but what I have seen he’s playing the ball a lot later, a lot more under his eyes, which is a very good start. From there he’s certainly got the shots to expand his game. He’s going to continue to work hard and hopefully, he can flourish in this system.”
Australia’s XI for the final Test:
Steven Smith (c), David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.
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