For the third straight Test, Australia will field the same undefeated line-up for the second clash against the Proteas at St George’s Park, starting Friday.
In the midst of the David Warner-Quinton de Kock stairwell saga, Australia captain Steve Smith has demanded that his players stay focused on the task at hand: to defeat South Africa in each Test and retain their post isolation unbeaten record.
Smith rallied his troops on Wednesday at Australia’s only full training session to make sure they were on task and focused to take on what’s sure to be a fired-up Proteas outfit.
‘I pulled the playing group together and said ”don’t let these incidents overshadow the way we played and get in the way of the way we want to play in this series”.’
‘It’s about continuing to play a good, hard aggressive brand but knowing we don’t want to cross the line, we want to stay within the spirit of the game and let cricket be the main thing on show.’
Smith says that, as captain, he takes responsibility for the actions of his players. ‘I’m pleased with Davey that he stuck his hand up, said he made a mistake and he could handle things better. He’s accepted his charge and we’ll move on from that.’
He added: ‘Something like this can certainly make some sparks for the rest of the series, but that’s not the way I see it and I don’t want the series to pan out that way. So, we just want to get back to playing good cricket and make sure we play them on skill and get the emotion out of it.’
Australia XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Photo: Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images