3rd Test: Kagiso Rabada Return Boosts South Africa, Mitchell Starc Passed Fit For Australia

Updated: 20 March 2018 22:42 IST

Rabada, who took 11 wickets in the second Test in Port Elizabeth, has successfully appealed against a ban.

3rd Test: Kagiso Rabada Return Boosts South Africa, Mitchell Starc Passed Fit For Australia
© AFP

South Africa received a boost on Tuesday with the presence of their match-winning fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in the third Test against Australia starting Thursday but the visitors also received good news when Mitchell Starc was passed fit. With the series tied 1-1, Rabada, who took 11 wickets in the second Test in Port Elizabeth, has successfully appealed against a ban, while Starc, Australia's match-winner in the first Test in Durban, has recovered from a sore calf. Conditions at Newlands are less likely to assist the fast reverse swing the pair achieved in the first two matches, but with a good covering of grass two days before the match, the pitch should offer more pace and bounce.

That could make the accuracy and persistence of South Africa's Vernon Philander and Australia's Josh Hazlewood crucial.

Philander has a remarkable record at Newlands, where he has taken 47 wickets in eight Tests at an average of 16.34 but Hazlewood will be playing in his first Test at the ground.

Philander has had mixed fortunes in two Tests against Australia at Newlands. He made a sensational debut in November 2011, taking five for 15 as Australia were bowled out for 47 in the second innings. He had match figures of eight for 78 in a South African win.

But he could only take one for 158 in the match when a pair of centuries by David Warner led Australia to a series-clinching win in March 2014, the most recent occasion on which a Test has been played at the ground so late in a South African season.

Rabada's availability after overturning a ban for brushing the shoulder of Australia captain Steve Smith in the second Test simplifies South Africa's selection, allowing the hosts to name a squad of 17 players to allow for a variety of combinations.

Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon said his side had "no dramas" with the decision to clear Rabada and were looking forward to facing him again.

"As Australian cricketers we always want to play against the best players in the world and KG (Rabada) is the number one bowler in the world," Lyon said.

South Africa's most likely selection debates are expected to be whether the extra bounce of Morne Morkel might earn him selection ahead of Lungi Ngidi or whether a fit-again Temba Bavuma should replace Theunis de Bruyn.

Australia are unlikely to make any changes to the team that has represented them in seven successive Tests. In addition to Starc, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh was passed fit after suffering a groin strain in Port Elizabeth.

There will be a complete change of match officials for the last two matches. Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe will take over from New Zealand's Jeff Crowe as match referee, while three English umpires will officiate in the middle and as television umpire.

Probable teams:

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Theunis de Bruyn or Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi or Morne Morkel.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wkt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

(With AFP Inputs)

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Topics : Australia Cricket Team South Africa Cricket Team Kagiso Rabada Mitchell Starc Cricket
Highlights
  • South Africa will be boosted by the presence of Kagiso Rabada
  • Rabada took 11 wickets in the second Test in Port Elizabeth
  • Mitchell Starc was passed fit for Australia
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