Damien Martyn has called the Wanderers ground in Johannesburg a "special venue" that Australia "loves" playing at despite expectations of a fierce welcome in the tour-opening Twenty20 match on Friday. A sponsor's gimmick will give the first 20,000 people into the ground "hard hats" for the match and the Australians are prepared for abuse after Mark Boucher's comments that he hoped the home crowds "give them some stick".
Australia's most recent match at Johannesburg, which is known as The Bullring, was the 2003 World Cup final victory over India and Martyn, who scored an unbeaten 88, said the ground carried fond memories. "The last time we were out in the middle we were celebrating and singing the team song," Martyn told AAP. "It's always going to be a special venue for all the guys that were here that night. We love playing here. It's like touring sides playing at the MCG and SCG - big ground, a lot of noise. The crowd is fantastic."
Twenty20 matches have become a regular way of starting tours and Martyn, who scored 98 off 55 in the victory over South Africa at the Gabba last month, said the format was enjoyable. "We really just try to play a positive game," he said. "It's more get out there and run around and put on a good spectacle for the crowd."
South Africa have named their team and recalled two old faces and selected two debutants in the warm-up for the five-match one-day series starting at Centurion on Sunday. Neil McKenzie, who has not been picked in an ODI since October 2003, and Roger Telemachus, whose last match was in 2002, have earned returns while the batsman Loots Bosman and offspinner Thandi Tshabalala get their first international experiences.
Telemachus told the agency he did not expect a call-up and said he was "putting a few fingers up the noses" of critics. "All of a sudden people were saying that I'm old and I can't compete on the cricket field any more," he said. "I know who they are and they know who they are."
Bosman will open the batting with Graeme Smith instead of Boeta Dippenaar while Tshabalala will be a slow-bowling option alongside Robin Peterson. Ricky Ponting has not named his side, but Shane Watson is expected to come in for Michael Hussey, who has stayed in Australia to be with his pregnant wife.
South Africa Graeme Smith (capt), Loots Bosman, AB de Villiers (wk), Herschelle Gibbs, Neil McKenzie, Justin Kemp, Andrew Hall, Robin Peterson, Roger Telemachus, Thandi Tshabalala, Johan van der Wath, Makhaya Ntini.
Australia squad Adam Gilchrist (wk), Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (capt), Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Mick Lewis.