Proteas to target nervous Aussie newboys

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With the home side in crisis mode after losing five consecutive Tests, including two at home to surrender the on-going series to the Proteas, the new interim Australian convenor of selectors Trevor Hohns has immediately hurled his axe over six players that were part of the innings and 80-run embarrassment at the Bellerive Oval last week.

Batsmen Joe Burns, Adam Voges (concussion), Callum Ferguson and wicket-keeper Peter Nevill plus fast bowler Joe Mennie are the casualties.

And in either a desperate bid to rejuvenate the squad or the fact that the local Sheffield State cricket here is in such poor form at the moment, the selectors have been forced to go with three uncapped batsmen this week along with the return of pacemen Chadd Sayers and Jackson Bird along with Matthew Wade behind the stumps.

However, it will be England-born 20-year old Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson that will be the men in the firing line facing up to Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Hobart hero Kyle Abbott. And if that challenge is not large enough for any set of batsmen making their Test debuts, the trio’s situation will be further intensified due to the vagaries of the pink ball that will be used under the Adelaide Oval floodlights.

“To be honest I don’t know a lot about them,” Duminy said of the Aussie debutants. “But when you're making your debut in the Test match arena, you are going to be nervous. Any sort of team is going to try and exploit that.

“We have to prepare for potential new players coming in. There will be strategies.

“But at the present time we are just focusing on ourselves in terms of what sort of strategy and game plan we want to come up with and play our brand of cricket.”

A big part of South Africa’s preparation will undoubtedly be on familiarising themselves more with the pink ball. There certainly are unknown factors for the Proteas who will be playing their maiden floodlit Test at the Adelaide Oval.

Duminy and company have, though, had two warm-up games under lights here in Australia in a bid to simulate the conditions with a special focus on trying to adjust to the pink ball during the twilight period.

“That was always the plan to get as much batting under lights. The more time we can spend in that light the better it will be,” Duminy said.

“The ball has a gloomy feel to it. I don’t know what is causing that. The weirdest thing is that when it’s completely dark, it is a little bit easier. I guess you just have to fight through that phase.”

The series-winning South Africans move on to Adelaide today after recharging the batteries in Melbourne and are eager to become the first team to whitewash the Aussies 3-0 in a Test series on home soil this week.

Full Australia squad

David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.

Aussie newbies

Matt Renshaw

Age: 20

State: Queensland

First-class matches: 12; Runs: 1021; HS: 170; Ave: 44.39; 100s: 3; 50s: 3

Peter Handscomb

Age: 25

State: Victoria

First-class matches: 61; Runs: 3854; HS: 215; Ave: 40.56; 100s: 9; 50s: 24

Nic Maddinson

Age: 24

State: New South Wales

First-class matches: 59; Runs: 3653; HS: 181; Ave: 37.65; 100s: 8; 50s: 17

The Star

South Africa will ‘try to exploit’ the wholesale changes Australia have made to their 12-man squad for the much-anticipated third and final Test in Adelaide.

Original source: Proteas to target nervous Aussie newboys

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