Australia surprised many by making three changes for the third Test match against South Africa, which is now being played in Sydney. On a wicket where spinners bowled seven out of the 28 overs bowled in the opening session, Australia put their best foot forward.
Australia’s captain Pat Cummins announced the changes after winning the toss and choosing to bat first. Batter Matthew Renshaw will replace all-arounder Cameron Green, all-rounder Ashton Agar will replace fast bowler Mitchell Starc, and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will replace fast bowler Scott Boland on a like-for-like basis.
The development indicates that Australia hasn’t sacrificed their batting strength for this match in addition to fielding two spinners and as many pacers.
Renshaw and Agar were added to the Australian team after Green and Starc were disqualified from the final international game of the domestic summer, for the uninitiated. Renshaw is making his second return to the Test squad after nearly fifty years, and he is doing so despite a positive COVID test. After more than five years, Agar has also returned to the format.
Ricky Ponting Not Surprised by Josh Hazlewood Playing Ahead of Scott Boland in the Sydney Test
Ricky Ponting, a former captain of Australia, was unsurprised that Hazlewood was preferred by the home team over Boland, who was in fine form, but he still felt bad for Boland, calling it “very very unfortunate” for him to miss this Test at the SCG.
Scott Boland has a terrible lot in life. Even though Lance Morris has been with the team for the past few weeks, Ponting told 7 Cricket that he was shocked if he played in any Test matches this summer.
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“However, Boland’s track record is exceptional. Most likely deserving of a spot on the team. He wasn’t among Australia’s top three fast bowlers at the start of the summer, and that is a cold, hard fact. Injuries allowed him to play.
32-year-old Boland has taken 28 wickets in six Test matches with an average of 12.21, a 2.20 economy rate, and a 33.2 strike rate. The first-choice pacer for Australia, along with Cummins and Starc, was always likely to play ahead of Boland, especially after missing the previous three games, as former Australia captain and current chief selector George Bailey hinted before the second Test in Melbourne.