Australia delays naming Test team - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia delays naming Test team

By Greg Buckle 16/03/2006 05:41:31 AM Comments (0)

Australia has delayed naming its team for Thursday's first Test against South Africa until the morning of the match to avoid any hasty judgments of how the Newlands pitch will play.

South Africa had been hoping for a seam-friendly wicket but the pitch had a brown and dry appearance on Wednesday, indicating that Australia's likely selection of leg-spinners Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill would pay dividends late in the game.

"I'll have a closer look at it today. I don't like making too many judgments about it too far out from the game," Australian captain Ricky Ponting said.

"Both ends are a little bit bare which is quite good for us.

"It won't have to be that bare. In Melbourne and Sydney (in December and January against South Africa) we went in with both spinners on wickets that were quite juicy on day one, and as it turned out we ended up winning both of those games.

"The wicket will have a bit to do with that, but we've just got to pick the four bowlers we think are most likely to take 20 wickets for us in the Test."

Ponting added that world record-holder Warne had shown he didn't need everything in his favour.

"It doesn't matter what the wicket looks like. He's a class performer in all sorts of conditions," Ponting said.

Merv Hughes is Australia's selector on duty for the first Test.

South Africa is facing a nervous wait with leading paceman Shaun Pollock battling to shrug off a back injury. However, fellow quick Andre Nel appears to have overcome a foot complaint, captain Graeme Smith said.

South African spinner Nicky Boje has a bout of food poisoning, but is expected to play.

Possible teams:

Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt), Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Michael Kasprowicz, Stuart MacGill.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), AB De Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock*, Nicky Boje, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini.

* Pollock has a back injury and could be replaced by Andrew Hall in the side depending on fitness.

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