ADELAIDE: Crisis-hit Australia made six changes to their Test squad Sunday for this week’s third day-night Test against South Africa in Adelaide.
Selectors named debutants English-born opener Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson in a 12-man squad with pacemen Chadd Sayers and Jackson Bird returning, and Matthew Wade coming in as wicketkeeper.
Australia last made as many as six changes in 1984, when they faced the then formidable West Indies.
Joe Burns, Adam Voges, Callum Ferguson, Peter Nevill and Joe Mennie were omitted from the squad with interim chief selector Trevor Hohns saying that Voges, Mitch Marsh and Steve O’Keefe were not considered because of injury.
The dramatic team overhaul follows Australia’s innings and 80-run loss to the Proteas in last week’s Hobart Test to give the tourists an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
South Africa could inflict the first home series whitewash in Australian history if they win the pink ball final Test at the Adelaide Oval, starting on Thursday.
Queensland opener Renshaw, 20, was born in Yorkshire and lived in England before coming to Australia at the age of 10.
Victorian batsman Handscomb, 25, is also the holder of a British passport, but was born in Australia to English parents.
Maddinson, 24, became the youngster player when he was 18 to score a century on Sheffield Shield debut for New South Wales in 2010 and has also represented Australia in Twenty20 cricket.
Sayers, a Adelaide Oval specialist, had been in Australia’s Test squad earlier this year but did not play a Test match in New Zealand.
“Matt has established himself in a short period of time as one of the best young opening bats in the country,” Hohns said.
“His form is currently very good and we see him as a very exciting prospect for the future.
“Peter’s form over the last couple seasons, and with Australia A, has been very consistent. We think he is the type of player who could succeed at the next level.
“Nic is an exciting and talented young player and we feel now is the ideal time for him to be involved with the Australian team.”
Tasmania’s Jackson Bird and South Australia’s Sayers come into the squad as the additional fast-bowlers.
“We consider Chadd and Jackson to be very good bowlers that also can bowl a large amount of overs in conjunction with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
“Chadd bowls very well in Adelaide and Jackson is coming off a strong performance in his last Test match earlier in the year and both deserve their chance.”
Australia (squad): Steve Smith (capt), Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Matt Renshaw, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.