The mighty Australians have lost their supremacy. In their own backyard, South Africa came and conquered. After a 2-0 series win in the first two Test matches itself, the Australian team has undergone massive changes. In order to save a whitewash in the third and final Test that begins tomorrow, three debutants – Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson, will be introduced to the international arena. While Australian captain Steve Smith is happy with the youngsters making way to the team, there’s a big void for Australian cricket to fill.
Rapid changes in the Australian squad
The team for the third Test includes David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson and Jackson Bird. The Australians have already used 20 players for three Test matches. Joe Burns and Callum Ferguson were added to the team after Shaun Marsh was ruled out due to an injury. Peter Siddle’s injury made way for Jackson Bird. After facing a 2-0 defeat in Hobart, Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Chadd Sayers and wicket-keeper Matthew Wade were added to the squad. Joe Burns, Callum Ferguson, Peter Nevill and Joe Mennie have been dropped while Adam Voges in injured.
Meet the debutants: Matt Renshaw
20-year-old Renshaw is a left haned batsman who hasn’t gotten much match practice in the domestic circuit but for sure has shown potential. In 12 First Class matches (23 innings), has has 1021 runs at a healthy average of 44.39 with 3 hundreds and 3 half-centuries. In 4 List A matches, he has made 173 runs at an average of 57.66 with a highest score of 88.
Maddinson is a 24-year-old left handed top order batsman. He has represented Australia in 2 T20Is and has scored 38 runs. In First Class, he has played 59 matches (104 innings) and has scored 3653 runs at an average of 37.65. With a highest score of 181, he has 8 centuries and 17 half-centuries to his name. In List A, he has played 60 matches (58 innings) and scored 1926 runs at an average of 35 with 4 centuries and 10 half-centuries.
Handscomb, a 25-year-old right handed top order batsman, has played 61 First Class matches (100 innings). He has scored 3854 runs at an average of 40.56. He can keep wickets and has a highest score of 215 to his name. Handscomb has made 9 centuries and 24 fifties so far in the domestic circuit. In 51 List A games (46 innings), he has 1130 runs against his name at an average of 31.38 with 5 fifties.
Jackson Bird makes a comeback
Bird last played for Australia in February, this year. In 5 matches in his career so far, he has given away 531 runs and picked up 21 wickets at an average of 25.28. A right arm fast bowler, he made an impressive debut in 2012 against Sri Lanka where he took 4/61. In his second Test, he took 7/117 and Australia won another match. His third Test came against England where he had figures of 2/125. After a gap of three years, Bird made a comeback against New Zealand and picked 1/103. He followed it up with 7/125 in the next match against the Kiwis.
Another debutant in the wings: Chadd Sayers
Sayers is also in the Test squad and may make his debut soon. A right arm fast bowler, Sayers has played 47 First Class matches and picked up 186 wickets at an average of 24.20. He has 10 five-wicket hauls and 2 ten-wicket hauls with an economy of 2.66.
Both Callum Ferguson and Joe Mennie failed to impress in their debut against South Africa in the second Test at Hobart. Ferguson made 4 runs (3 in the first, 1 in the second) in two innings and Joe Mennie gave away 85 runs before he got his first Test wicket in the form of Temba Bavuma. South Africa won the Test by an innings and 80 runs and both debutants were dropped.