The Australian cricket team have arrived in South Africa and are looking forward to getting plenty of knowledge from their five-match ODI series against the Proteas that starts at Centurion next Friday.
That the Australians have at least one eye on the Test series they will host against South Africa in November is borne out by their selection for the ODI matches, with three uncapped pace bowlers included in Daniel Worrall, Joe Mennie and Chris Tremain, leaving John Hastings (23 ODIs) and Scott Boland (10 caps) to lead the attack. Leggie Adam Zampa, who has played just a dozen ODIs, is the frontline spinner.
South Africa, under pressure to arrest their slide to fourth in the ODI rankings, by way of contrast have chosen what is expected to be their Test attack in Australia, minus Vernon Philander.
“We do have quite a turnover of players in our ODI side but that’s because we want to give the Test players a break. The guys handle it very well, they’ve been fantastic, and it allows us to give players chances at this level, we chop and change the bowlers so Steve Smith knows he has a lot of depth in that department.
“We want to make sure everyone gets game time, we’re looking ahead to major championships and players must adapt. There are good reasons for Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood not being here – we have a Test series coming up and we want to give them a break.
“So this ODI series will be a challenge for some good young players and hopefully our fast bowlers can step up. We have pace and swing from the three debutants, John Hastings has done very well for us in the past and Scotty Boland did very well last year,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said at their Sandton hotel on Wednesday.
“A few of South Africa’s bowling attack are also part of the Test squad so it’s a chance to play against them and hopefully get into rhythm against them. Their batsmen are also generally the same in Tests, so we can learn from bowling at them too,” captain Smith said.
Australia are fresh off a 4-1 ODI series win in Sri Lanka with George Bailey enjoying a prolific series, and with Smith and David Warner the obvious other threats in a strong batting line-up.
Both the captain and coach said South Africa were a top-class side in their own conditions.
“These conditions are probably the most similar to Australia, so it’s not so foreign, generally there’s good pace and bounce. It should be exciting one-day cricket with good scores, I’m sure it will be different to Sri Lanka,” Smith said.