Desperate for a win for to keep the series alive, Australia took a couple of gambles by sending South Africa in and naming their third oldest one-day international debutant of all time.
The fast bowler Shane Harwood, 35, was handed his first ODI cap and was the only change for either side after South Africa’s victory in Cape Town.
Brydon Coverdale writes for cricinfo that the move was made necessary because of Brett Geeves’ fractured foot but Australia could have brought back Ben Laughlin, who performed solidly in his first two ODIs in Durban and Centurion. The late inclusion of Harwood, who was in South Africa training for the IPL, came as Australia sought a wicket-taking fast man to support Mitchell Johnson.
Bob Simpson and Bob Holland are the only Australians who were older than Harwood when they made their one-day international debut. Harwood will get an early chance to show his skills after Ponting’s decision to field on a pitch that he felt had some moisture on the top.
South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith said he would have batted had he won the toss and following their success at Newlands, there was no alteration to their line-up. If South Africa win they will take an unassailable 3-1 lead with a match to play and will confirm their place as the No. 1 ODI side in the world.
South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy, 6 Roelof van der Merwe, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Albie Morkel, 9 Johan Botha, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Wayne Parnell.
Australia: 1 Brad Haddin (wk), 2 Michael Clarke, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Callum Ferguson, 7 James Hopes, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Nathan Bracken, 11 Shane Harwood.
is a staff writer at CricinfoTweet