As Pat Cummins rejoins the group after missing the series decider against the Windies, the Australian team has received a huge boost ahead of the Gabba Test against the Proteas. After suffering a quadriceps injury during the first Test against the Windies in Perth, the Australian captain was a significant question mark for the series opener against Dean Elgar’s South Africa. Michael Neser is replaced by Cummins in the starting lineup for the home team.
Following the announcement of the lineup for the first Test in Brisbane by the hosts on Friday, the Australian captain’s return was verified. Steve Smith, who led the team while the top paced was absent, will hand the reins back to Cummins. Josh Hazlewood’s absence due to a side strain allows Scott Boland to keep his spot in the starting lineup, although Michael Neser was forced to move aside for the Australian captain despite performing well in Adelaide.
Notably, this is the first red-ball match between the two teams following the controversial “Sandpapergate” incident in the 2018 season. Given their formidable batting lineup, which features the erratic middle-order duo of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, the host team is the favourite going into the game. The former, who was born in South Africa, will make his career debut in a Test match against his own nation.
The renowned Protean fast bowling attack, which includes Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, and Marco Jansen, will be their toughest opponent. The visitors, who have triumphed in their past three red-ball series down under, will be excited by the green top at the Gabba. But the unstoppable Dean Elgar will be worried about his subpar batting display in the England series going into the tantalising match against the Australians.
Australia XI: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland