South Africa bat; Sayers replaces injured Starc | Cricket Bats | Australia

Toss: South Africa chose to bat v Australia
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Australia’s new cycle of Test cricket began in Johannesburg after the sanctions handed out by Cricket Australia following the ball-tampering scandal. Tim Paine, not even Tasmania’s first-choice wicketkeeper a matter of months ago, became Australia’s 46th Test captain. Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw, opening for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield final earlier this week, replaced David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. Peter Handscomb, running drinks among other responsibilities through this series, was included in Steven Smith’s No. 4 position. In addition, fast bowler Chadd Sayers was given a debut in Australia’s only unforced change of the Test, in place of Mitchell Starc, who has tibial bone stress in his right leg.

Back to the cricket after several days of off-field chaos, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis chose to bat at the Wanderers, in their bid to secure their first home Test series win against Australia since 1970. As had been announced on the eve of the match, South Africa made no changes to the XI that won so convincingly in Cape Town.

“A little bit browner,” du Plessis said of the pitch. “The cracks are starting to appear. By the fourth innings, it will be up and down. I haven’t been the pitch expert in the last while. We’re expecting more turn than you would get here normally.”

The Johannesburg Test was also the end of a cycle. On Thursday, Darren Lehmann announced the fourth Test would be his last as Australia’s coach. And prior to the series, Morne Morkel announced his South African career would culminate in Johannesburg.

South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Faf du Plessis (capt), 6 Temba Bavuma, 7 Quinton de Kock (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Morne Morkel

Australia: 1 Joe Burns, 2 Matt Renshaw, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Peter Handscomb, 5 Shaun Marsh, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Tim Paine (capt, wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Chadd Sayers, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Josh Hazlewood


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