As expected. South Africa go with the keeper at six and five bowlers, the first three of whom can bat decently. Australia go as unchanged as possible, with only Cummins returning for Michael Neser, and Boland retaining his position as first option off the bench.
Dean Elgar *
Rassie van der Dussen
Kyle Verreynne +
Alex Carey +
Pat Cummins *
Australia win the toss and bowl
Innnteresting! Cummins must be thinking of putting England under the cosh on the opening morning last year. The pitch is very green, but it often is at the Gabba without providing much meaningful assistance. Still, SA have a sketchy batting line-up so maybe Australia can make inroads anyway. Batting second is historically not an impediment at the Gabba.
If you want a preview of today’s match and the series to come, here’s one I prepared earlier.
What’s happening in the middle? The South Africans have just finished an all-in game of some variety of volleyball, and now they’re doing ground fielding drills, running in to pick up balls being pinged at them along the turf. The Australians are more spread out: Smith and Khawaja doing slip catching, Starc and Green going through their run-ups, players throwing medicine balls or chatting to commentators. Mark Nicholas is back out on an Australian Test ground after those years with Nine, must be doing commentary for SuperSport I’m guessing. Pat Cummins has just left the field to get changed for the toss.
My name is Geoff, I’m at the ground keeping my eyes open for anything interesting. You can get in touch by emailing [email protected], or (while it lasts) on Twitter at @GeoffLemonSport.
Good morning from Brisbane. The sun is shining, the palms are swaying, the sky is paradise blue. It is a million miles away from the lead-up to the Ashes Test a year ago, when it rained Biblically for two weeks straight and I was starting to pair off lemurs and marmosets just in case. It is also very mild for Brisbane, which in summer usually has the heat and overwhelming humid of an armpit. I’ am not a meteorologist, but presumably the cool summer system that has made the southern states into a frigid hellscape for the past few weeks has also had a gentling effect on the north, because nothing all week is forecast to get above the high 20s in temperature, and the humidity is relatively low.
That is the setting of the scene, if you’re watching along on television or reading along while doing other things, and wanting to know what the players are feeling. Which players? Those of Australia and South Africa, one of the strong rivalries in the small world of Test cricket, in their first series since the sandpaper business in 2018. Nobody remembers that, surely? It’s not like it has been in the news ever since.