South Africa pick Ngidi for Morkel; Australia bat on grassy pitch | Cricket

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Can’t promise it won’t happen again – Smith

Toss Australia chose to bat v South Africa

Steven Smith won the toss for the second time in the series and again chose to bat first as Australia seek a 2-0 lead in the four-Test campaign.

Australia made no changes to their winning side, but on a pitch expected to have some early movement, South Africa included the fast bowler Lungi Ngidi at the expense of the experienced Morne Morkel.

“We’re bringing in Lungi Ngidi, specifically for these conditions,” South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said. “He’s a guy that moves the ball around a little bit more, so we’re excited to see what he’s got. But also Australia hasn’t played him before, so watch out for him.”

The toss was delayed by 10 minutes due to rain, although play was set to begin on time. The possibility of some early seam movement on a pitch boasting grass and moisture did not deter Smith from batting first, but du Plessis said the conditions could favour South Africa’s fast men early and he may even have sent Australia in if given the choice.

“I was extremely happy to lose the toss,” du Plessis said. “I was very 50-50, to be honest with you. At the end of the day we probably would have gone with bowling first, just the first hour I think it’s going to move around a bit. It’ll be a bit on the slow side. But with the conditions forecast over the next five days, I don’t think it’s going to get too hot, so I don’t think will deteriorate that much. So that’s why I was probably leaning toward bowling.”

South Africa 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Faf du Plessis (capt), 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Theunis de Bruyn, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Lungi Ngidi

Australia 1 Cameron Bancroft, 2 David Warner, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Shaun Marsh, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Nathan Lyon

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo @brydoncoverdale


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