Australia, who must take the game to stay alive in the series, won the toss and Ricky Ponting elected to bat in the fourth ODI in Adelaide. South Africa lead the five-match contest 2-1 following their victories in Melbourne and Sydney and have shown they can never be ruled out no matter how big the chase.
Peter English writes for Cricinfo that the home team has been strong in the top order, but has struggled to maintain the momentum through the middle. “Hopefully we can start the innings well, like we have through the series, but it’s about putting the whole 50 overs together,” Ponting said.
South Africa will field a new wicketkeeper in AB de Villiers after Mark Boucher sustained a broken toe from a Shaun Tait yorker. The job is familiar to de Villiers – he has done it six times in ODIs – and his importance to the team continues to rise. Morne Morkel, the fast bowler, is in the XI while Jacques Kallis has been passed fit after picking up a side strain in Sydney.
Australia resisted the move to bring Ryan Harris straight in after he replaced Nathan Bracken, who strained a calf at the SCG, and preferred Ben Hilfenhaus. Nathan Hauritz drops out to be 12th man while Cameron White, who is expected to bowl, will return to No. 6. The temperature at the toss was 35C, the sun was out and the pitch should suit the batsmen.
Australia 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 David Warner, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 David Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Hopes, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Ben Hilfenhaus, 11 Shaun Tait.
South Africa 1 Herschelle Gibbs, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Neil McKenzie, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Johan Botha (capt), 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Makhaya Ntini.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of CricinfoTweet