After pacer Kyle Abbott inspired South Africa to a famous series victory in Hobart, there was a feeling that things might become uninterested come the first day-night Test of the Australian summer in Adelaide.But thanks to ball-tampering controversy, the focus is back on potentially a dead rubber starting on Thursday at Adelaide Oval.
Stand-in South African skipper Faf du Plesis, who received all the praise for his good work on the field, where he led his side without key players like full-time captain AB de Villiers and fast-bowler Dale Steyn, to third successive series victory down under.However, footage of him shining the ball while having a candy in his mouth made International Cricket Council took notice of it, and the Proteas captain was charged for ‘applying artificial substance over the ball’, for which he was found guilty and was charged 100 per cent of his match fee.
Come Thursday, the focus, which should have been on the pink ball and flood lights, under which the visiting side will play for the first time in five-day format, will be rather on Du Plessis, who already said that he ‘disagree’ with the verdict, and that he did ‘nothing wrong’. Coming back to the match, the hosts will start as an underdog after facing two comprehensive defeats on their home soil.After such humiliation, the selection committee made wholesale changes in the squad, where there are as much as five changes expected in the playing eleven which was on the losing side in the Hobart Test.
The most notable is the inclusion of wicket keeper batsman Mathew Wade, who is making a comeback to the Test side after the gap of more than three years.His inclusion primarily based on two factors; one is that the selection committee believes that his keeping has improved considerably over since 2013, whereas he scored 230 runs at an average of over 57 in five innings he played under lights during Sheffield Shield games.The three uncapped players are picked into squad are Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nick Maddinson who are also set to debut for the hosts in the final match of the series.
For visitors, things look more certain as far as their team combination is concerned. Du Plessis is expected to lead the same playing eleven as he did in Hobart.The only change which can take place in the Proteas lineup is of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who might be replaced with left-arm chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi.The pitch will favor pacers, who will get plenty of seam movement, whereas the batsmen will need to work hard against the new ball in particular.