Australia mull Cummins debut
Australia could hand a Test debut to teenage paceman Pat Cummins against South Africa in Johannesburg.
By Graeme Mair - Twitter: @gmair 1
Last Updated: 16/11/11 3:44pm
Australia are considering a baptism of fire for 18-year-old fast bowler Pat Cummins in the second Test against South Africa, starting on Thursday in Johannesburg.
Cummins, who can bowl at over 90mph and has already made five limited-overs appearances for Australia, will become his country's second youngest Test cricketer after Ian Craig if he is selected in a match the tourists must win to claim a share of the two-game series.
Australia were bowled out for 47 in their second innings en route to an eight-wicket defeat in the series opener at Newlands and are certain to make at least one change to their starting XI as top-order batsman Shaun Marsh is ruled out by a back injury.
Usman Khawaja will be recalled in Marsh's place at number three, while there is also a case for David Warner, who joined the squad this week, to make his debut at opener Phil Hughes' expense.
For several of Australia's senior players this match is probably their final chance to turn around a run of poor form, most notably this applies to former captain Ricky Ponting, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson.
"There's one definite change and the possibility of a couple of others. We have no choice, we have to pick a team to take 20 wickets and also to be positive and confident with the bat as well... we've got to take the game forward," said Australia skipper Michael Clarke.
"There are also some guys who have not trained yet this week. Ryan Harris is a bit stiff and sore, so we're waiting to see how he goes and how he pulls up in the morning. But nobody's got any great concerns and we'll probably be able to pick our best XI."
On events at Newlands, Clarke added: "We got rid of the scars once we left Cape Town, we had a good session in the changing room and made a pact that we would leave what happened there and look only to this one. We need to have a red-hot crack at this one."
Clarke's opposite number Graeme Smith expects Australia to have moved on quickly from their Cape Town humiliation.
"Australia have got enough players of experience who would have dealt with what happened in Cape Town before and they'll know it's a fresh start," said the South Africa captain.
"If we can get them under pressure early, then maybe the memories of that 47 all out will come back. But we have to start well and earn the right to put them under pressure; we must have a good first day."
South Africa are set to name an unchanged team.
South Africa squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher (wkt), AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Paul Harris, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Ashwell Prince, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Australia squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Michael Beer, Trent Copeland, Pat Cummins, Brad Haddin (wkt), Ryan Harris, Phil Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, David Warner, Shane Watson