South Africa eye to seal series at Wanderers

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Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011, 13:38 [IST]
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Aussies run short of options

Johannesburg, Nov 17: After a humiliating test, Australia is facing a new challenge of selecting the team as they play South Africa in the third and the final test at the Wanderers stadium starting on Thursday. There aren't many options for the Aussies though, as they make changes to the final squad.

Earlier this week, Australia registered their fourth lowest total in Test Cricket after being bundled out for 47 in the second innings, suffered an eight wicket loss to South Africa in the second test at Capetown which led to a issues realted to the senior players for their inconsistent performance.

Critics have called for the heads of the former captain Ponting, wicket keeper Brad Haddin and left arm pacer Mitchell Johnson for the upcoming series against New Zealand at home. Ponting struggling to get back to form since a year, scored 8 and a nought in the first test while he has been backed by skipper Clarke and coach Justin Langer, as he happens to be one of the key players of the team.

However, Captain Clarke not preparing to drop Ponting, said on Wednesday that Usman Khawaya would bat at number three, while Ponting continues to retain his position at number four.

Similarly, Haddin too has lost touch, as he has been scoring poorly over the past few months. He scored 5 and a nought in the first test against South Africa at Cape Town. His poor form widely came into perspective, especially when he particularly played a poor shot to be given out in the second innings. The only saving grace is that he is the only wicket keeper in the squad, so retains his place for the rest of the series.

Another bowler, who shot to fame in 2008-09, performed brilliant against South Africa then, has also experienced a poor form off late conceding 87 runs off 16 overs and got his only wicket while South Africa were 14 runs short of victory.

Due to such inconsistent performances from the key players, major changes are likely to take place soon. As there are already a couple of changes. David Warner replaces Marsh who has flown back due to an injury. Promising teenager, Pat Cummins could replace Jhonson, after Ryan Harris's inclusion in the final eleven were slim after he woke up "stiff and sore" , according to Clarke.

Clarke has vowed to select the best possible team after that humiliating eight wicket loss to South Africa at Cape Town. Shane Watson, seems to be a key member of the team, after helping Aussies restirct Proteas' for 96 in their first innings.

"If that means no changes, there will be no changes," he said. "If it means four changes, I want the best 11 to win the Test", Clarke added.

South Africa, on the other hand are unlikely to change the winning combination for the second test as they play Australia at the Wanderers starting on Thursday.

The last time South Africa won a series at home against Australia was way back in 1969-70 during Ali Bacher's captaincy. Now, with a 1-0 lead, SA have already put enough pressure on the Aussies, if they manage to get a good lead in the first innings then they can seal the series at the Wanderers. Aussies, badly hurt after the hummiliating loss, will try to get back to winning stride soon as they have a tough task ahead.


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