AUS vs SA, 3rd Test: Preview, stats, Fantasy XI
Stakes will be incredibly high when Australia and South Africa lock horns in the third and final Test of the series, starting January 4. While the Aussies would seal a place in the World Test Championship final with a win, SA need a victory to keep their hopes alive. Having won the first two games, hosts Australia eye a whitewash. Here's the preview.
Pitch report, timing, and broadcast details
The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) will host this duel. Sides batting first have won 47 of the 111 Tests here, with the average first-innings score being 318. While pacers tend to dominate in the initial days here, spinners can be effective later on. The match will be telecast live on Sony Sports Network (5:00 AM IST) and live-streamed on the SonyLIV app (paid subscription).
Here is the head-to-head record
Australia firmly dominate South Africa as far as the head-to-head record in Tests is concerned. The two sides have clashed in 100 matches, with Australia winning 54 of them. While the African side emerged winner 26 times, the remaining 20 games were drawn. The two teams previously met in the format in 2018. SA beat the Aussies 3-1 in a four-match series at home.
Changes required in both camps
The likes of Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc have been ruled out of the final Test. Spin-bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar might come in for Green. Though Josh Hazlewood has declared himself fit, the management has hinted at giving uncapped Lance Morris, the fastest bowler in Australia, a chance. For SA, Rassie van der Dussen might replace Theunis de Bruyn, who has flown back home.
Here are the Probable XIs
Australia (Probable XI): David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Alex Carey (wicket-keeper), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (captain), Lance Morris/ Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland. South Africa (Probable XI): Dean Elgar (captain), Sarel Erwee, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Khaya Zondo, Kyle Verreynne (wicket-keeper), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi.
Who are the in-form players?
David Warner slammed a sensational double-century in the previous game. Though SA batters have struggled largely in the series, wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne has slammed a couple of fighting fifties. With 47 wickets apiece, Nathan Lyon and Kagiso Rabada finished 2022 as the joint-highest wicket-takers in Tests. Having mustered 1,080 in 11 games, Usman Khawaja was Australia's highest run-scorer in Tests last year.
Dream11 Fantasy cricket options
Fantasy XI (Option 1): Kyle Verreynne, Dean Elgar, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith (C), Temba Bavuma, Travis Head, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon (VC). Fantasy XI (Option 2): Kyle Verreynne, Alex Carey, Dean Elgar, Marnus Labuschagne (C), Steve Smith, Travis Head, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada (VC), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.