Australia's XI for the 1st Test in South Africa

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

What a great win by India - sensational stuff.

How good is test cricket also, that one came down to the last session of the series with all results still on the table.

Brilliant to watch.

Sadly, there's got to be some decisions to be made around the national side after some indifferent performances.

Nothing like a bit of healthy discussion and debate, here's my take on the Australian XI that will suit up against the South Africans in 5-6 weeks time, presuming of course that it all goes ahead and COVID doesn't stop it from happening.

David Warner

Not his best summer, admittedly injury interrupted with the groin strain. He's not everyone's favourite but he'll be there, he averages 63 in test cricket in South Africa with 3 100's from 12 innings, Warner is locked in.

Will Pucovski

Showed enough on debut to think that he'll be around for many years. Obviously injured and unable to play in Brisbane, if the shoulder comes good he'll be back in the side, if not, you probably give Marcus Harris another chance and I'm sure he'll be on the plane over.

Marnus Labuschagne

He can hold his head up high after an impressive summer, he's averaging more than 60 in test cricket and is a bonafide cricket nerd.

If anything, he probably should have bowled more leggies on the 5th Day in both Sydney & Brisbane.

Steve Smith

Well he didn't start well against India but Smudge came good as he always does. Smithy is well on track to not only become the leading run scorer in Australian test cricket history, but he may well chase down Sachin Tendulkar as well.

Ben McDermott

This is where it gets a bit tricky. McDermott has been hitting them out of the park in the BBL and whilst playing test cricket in South Africa is a completely different kettle of fish, McDermott's output in Shield cricket earlier this season was impressive, averaging just less than 60.

He can score them a quick rate, we know that - he's played short-form cricket for Australia before, but McDermott seems to have found a healthy balance in terms of attack & defense in the longer form of the game. At 26 years old, it might be his time.

Cameron Green

Pick and stick with Green, he showed enough with the bat this summer to suggest he's got plenty to offer for many years to come. Again, thought he might have got more time with the ball but Painey looked elsewhere and Green is still searching for his first test wicket. That aside, he'll be around for many years.

Tim Paine

Ummm'd and ahhh'd over this one for a bit. If Tim Paine stays on now, he's got to see us through to the Test World Championships and the Ashes next year. Does he stay or does Smithy take back the captaincy and Alex Carey comes in to the side?

Based on what Justin Langer has said in the media of late, you'd think Paine will go out on his own terms which may be after the Ashes next year.

Sean Abbott

I think Mitch Starc's time in the longer version of the game is nearing an end, or perhaps he just needs to be managed better as he looked tired in Brisbane - maybe he shouldn't play every test.

Regardless, Tim Paine didn't seem to have too much faith in Starcy this summer and his efforts in Sydney and Brisbane were poor.

Sean Abbott is nearly 29 and did the drinks and oranges this summer, but it might be his time to step up.

Yes, if you take out Starc you lose the left-hand seem option, but I am not too bothered by that. Abbott will run in all day for you, he's a good fielder and can really handle the bat.

There's others too that are knocking on the door, Michael Neser, Riley Meredith and James Pattinson is always there and thereabouts.

Pat Cummins

Nothing really needs to be said about Pat Cummins, perhaps he just needs to get the new ball more often and maybe you could say if he's batting @ 8 he could be scoring more runs. But I'm knit picking - I love you Pat.

Nathan Lyon

I've gone with Gary but he's making it hard for us!

I think it was a combination of the Indian's playing him very well and Gary not getting his tactics right on occasions. Admittedly, he didn't have much luck either.

The other thing is, Lyon averages just on 40 in test cricket in South Africa which is not a good return, but do you throw someone like Mitch Swepson in? Not yet - pick and stick with Lyon, he's earnt the right but he'll be expecting a better return than what he produced in the four test matches against India.

Josh Hazlewood

The Cummins & Hazlewood double act is pretty potent, they just didn't get much support against India. Hazlewood is outstanding, he averages 25 with the ball in test cricket with 212 wickets - I'd say that average will only improve over the next few years.

Got a different opinion - let us know in the comments section below.

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