Australia’s newly appointed selectors have responded to the cricket team’s latest humiliating loss by making sweeping changes to the lineup ahead of the third test against South Africa, starting in Adelaide on Thursday.
Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell, appointed to the selector panel after the resignation of former chairman of selectors Rod Marsh last week, have named four debutants for the day-night match at the Adelaide Oval: batsmen Matt Renshaw, Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb, and paceman Chadd Sayers.
No Australian team has given four players their debuts in the same test since 1978.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and fast bowler Jackson Bird were also recalled.
Opener Joe Burns, batsmen Callum Ferguson and Adam Voges, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and fast bowler Joe Mennie were all dropped after Australia’s loss to South Africa in the second test at Hobart, allowing the tourists to clinch the three-match series with a game to spare.
Australia was also swept 3-0 in a test series in Sri Lanka in July and August and then beaten 5-0 in a limited-overs international series in South Africa.
The 20-year-old Renshaw is favored to take over from Burns and open the batting with David Warner, while Handscomb, 25, and Maddinson, 24, are set to make their debuts in the middle order.
Wade will replace Peter Nevill as wicketkeeper because his batting is considered to be superior. He played his most recent test three and a half years ago.
Sayers, a swing bowler who has been highly effective in Adelaide, will vie with Jackson Bird to replace Mennie.
Voges was not considered for selection after suffering a concussion while batting in a Sheffield Shield match for Western Australia.
Only six members of the second test squad have survived the purge: captain Steve Smith, Warner, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
The expectation that the selectors would make drastic changes to the lineup made the most recent round of the Sheffield Shield hugely competitve among players trying to hold onto their places and others seeking to claim spots.
England-born Renshaw batted his way into the lineup with a century and a half century for Queensland. He has three centuries in his 12 first-class matches to date.
“Matt has established himiself in a short period of time as one of the best young bats in the country,” Hohns said. “His form is currently very good and we see him as a very exciting prospect for the future.”
Handscomb scored his first double century in first-class cricket for Victoria, while Maddinson made 116 for Western Australia in the competition.
Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Lyon, Matt Renshaw, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade.