With a series victory, Australia hopes to secure a spot in the World Test Championship final
As another series-deciding Sydney Test approaches, the World Test Championship enjoys an advantage. South Africa’s chances of making the final in June remain slim, while Australia can ensure their place in the final with a win at the SCG.
Australia earned a consolation win when South Africa last played in this venue, in 2008-09. After Mitchell Johnson got a ball past him with ten balls left, Graeme Smith failed to save the game despite having a broken hand.
Can the outcome be changed this time? The disparity between the two teams in batting ability makes it difficult to believe this will be the case.
It was the first time in eight innings that South Africa failed to score over 200 in the final stages of the MCG Test. Despite their batting struggling, they have been able to stay alive in the World Test Championship despite their pace attack.
Australia will need to evolve, though. In many respects, Cameron Green’s loss is worse than Mitchell Starc’s because of the balance he adds to the team.
Mitchell Starc is out with a broken middle finger; his second-innings bowling in Melbourne was heroic (his fifty, with a broken finger, was another huge effort). The impact of Green’s absence is evident from the numerous issues raised regarding the balance of Australia’s side weeks.
Australia may be able to naturally take that path given the SCG surface and the notion of keeping an eye on India, but with the final so near by, they do not want to lose concentration.
They made minor errors that contributed to their loss in the previous cycle in addition to their overrate, and lately they have struggled to get 20 wickets on this field.
The first Pink Test was played by South Africa, and this is the fifteenth. The McGrath Foundation will profit as usual from the match’s proceeds, and the third day will be dedicated to Glenn’s late wife Jane, who passed away from breast cancer in 2008.
The Pink Test has raised more than AU$17 million in order to meet its target of 250 breast care nurses by 2025. At the moment, 193 breast care nurses work for the foundation.
Josh Hazlewood believes the Australian speed bowlers’ standing in the pecking order is unaffected, but it’s been unfortunate for him to miss the majority of two home summers.
The selectors will have to make some difficult choices when everyone is available as a result of Scott Boland’s barnstorming start to his Test career.
Despite Hazlewood’s impressive 217 wickets at 26.16, a huge Test match would be in order given the upcoming subcontinent tour, where only two frontline quicks are likely to be available, and Boland’s apparent fitness for the Ashes.
For Dean Elgar, the past several weeks have been trying. His team needs him to have big runs, but they haven’t come through.
He has been caught on the leg side twice, but it isn’t entirely unlucky because it is obviously a spot where the opposition’s bowlers believe they can get him, and the first-innings run out at the MCG was self-inflicted at a crucial time.
Despite the fact that he had little to work with in Melbourne, some of his captaincy has also received attention.
Australia (possible): 1 David Warner, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Travis Head, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Nathan Lyon, 10 Scott Boland, 11 Josh Hazlewood.
South Africa (possible): 1 Dean Elgar (capt) 2 Sarel Erwee, 3 Rassie van der Dussen/Heinrich Klaasen, 4 Temba Bavuma, 5 Khaya Zondo, 6 Kyle Verreynne, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Lungi Ngidi/Simon Harmer