Australia v South Africa, 4th ODI, Adelaide January 25, 2009

All to play for as series heats up

Match facts


Shaun Tait will be back in action for Australia at his home ground for the first time in more than a year © Getty Images
 
Monday, January 26
Start time 1.45pm (03.15 GMT)

The Big Picture

Australia must win on their national holiday to keep the five-match series alive following another nerveless chase from South Africa in the third game in Sydney on Friday night. Apart from the 2-1 disadvantage, the most troubling thing for the hosts is that they don't feel safe with any total. South Africa have been stunning during their pursuits of 271 in Melbourne and 269 at the SCG, and the only time they fell short was in the five-run defeat in Hobart.

Australia have plenty of fire at the top of the order, but things haven't been going as well in the middle, and the bowling during South Africa's batting Powerplay and at the death has been loose. Nathan Bracken, who has been the only exception, will be missing in Adelaide with a calf strain. Both sides are experimenting with new players, but with two matches to go it is the South Africans who feel the most comfortable.

ODI form guide

Australia - LWLWW
South Africa - WLWWW

Team news

South Africa have suffered a crucial blow with the wicketkeeper Mark Boucher out of the rest of the series with a broken toe caused by a Shaun Tait yorker. AB de Villiers will take the gloves as Boucher hopes to recover for the first Test in South Africa late next month. Jacques Kallis picked up a side strain on Friday and will continue to be monitored; his batting is fine but bowling causes discomfort. South Africa have so far resisted the move to promote Albie Morkel from No. 8, despite him bashing 91 runs from 45 balls in the three matches, but now they might not have a choice.

South Africa (probable) 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, 12 Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

Ryan Harris, the Queensland fast bowler, is in the 13-man squad for Bracken, but hasn't been able to push ahead of Ben Hilfenhaus and will watch with Nathan Hauritz, who took 2 for 60 off nine overs in Sydney, from the boundary. Cameron White is back after being left out on Friday and Ricky Ponting expects him to get a decent bowl. The move to pick an extra bowler and shift Brad Haddin to No. 6, where White will bat, did not help secure a match-winning total at the SCG.

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, 12 Nathan Hauritz.

Watch out for ...

Shaun Tait is back playing an international match in front of his home crowd for the first time since December 2007 and will be desperate to impress his supporters. Despite the often lifeless surface, Tait is able to create plenty of problems with his speed and late movement. He has been troubling batsmen during the series without finding the brutal spell that will kick-start his national return.

Herschelle Gibbs struggled in the opening games after coming back into the side following his rehabilitation from an alcohol problem, but he seemed to experience a few moments of clarity in racing to 64 off 52 balls in Sydney. There were 10 fours, a six, and a huge dose of confidence. On a flat surface in Adelaide, where the square boundaries are short, he could provide more danger.

Pitch & conditions

When thinking of Adelaide it's usually all about runs, but in the past three years the highest score has been Sri Lanka's 8 for 274, and there have been three completed innings in the 100s. It will be "dry, hot and sunny", according to the weather bureau, with temperatures of 35C predicted.

Stats and trivia

  • Australia have lost two of their past four one-day series at home, with the wins coming over Bangladesh and New Zealand
  • In 37 ODIs in Adelaide Australia have won 27 and lost 10, while South Africa have been successful on three out of four occasions. This will be the first time the teams have faced each other in a one-dayer at the ground
  • Albie Morkel's strike-rate after three games is a Twenty20-esque 202.22
  • Makhaya Ntini, Johan Botha and Dale Steyn lead the series wicket list with five each

Quotes

"You do and don't [like the attention], but it's something that comes from being a professional athlete. There are ups and downsides and you've just got to cope with that. At the moment, I'm doing fine."
David Warner, Australia's opening batsman

"I am training to play at eight, it is perfect to have guys down the order who can hit the ball out of the park in the Powerplay. That puts pressure on the fielding team."
Albie Morkel

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo