|Player:||Azizullah Khan, MJ Clarke, LL Tsotsobe, DW Steyn, M Ntini, WD Parnell, J Botha, NW Bracken, CL White|
|Event:||South Africa in Australia 2008/09|
DateLine: 29th January 2009
South Africa's victory at Adelaide Oval on Australia Day gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-game contest. It was not the outcome that most observers expected from the side that entered the series as the underdogs, led by the inexperienced captain Johan Botha. Now they can jump Australia on the ICC rankings with another triumph in Perth. That task will be harder without their strike bowlers Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini, while Australia have added strength to their line-up after what Ricky Ponting described as their worst performance of the summer on Monday. South Africa has decided to field two uncapped players in place of pacers Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini in the fifth and final ODI against Australia in Perth. South Africa, with an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, will play 19-year-old all-rounder Wayne Parnell and 24-year-old left-arm pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe in the final ODI.
South Africa's bowling coach Vinnie Barnes said the decision to give two young players a chance to make their debut by resting two senior guys in Steyn and Ntini doesn't mean the Proteas are taking the game lightly. "It's just part of our rotation policy. We have to rest players, we are committed to that. We are not going to go into Friday's game thinking about losing or taking it as an ordinary game, there's a huge commitment from everybody," he said. "We've got a couple of young players coming in who want to make an impact and secure their future so Friday night's game is as important as the game we've just played." He also hinted that left-hander Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who made his debut in the first ODI, was in line for a recall. Barnes also said that veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who is nursing a side strain, would undergo a fitness test tomorrow after which a decision on whether to play him on Friday would be taken.
If South Africa beat Australia in the last ODI in Perth, they would topple Ricky Ponting's men from the top spot of the ICC ODI rankings. "We've got them down 3-1 at the moment and we want to make sure that's 4-1. We want to give them absolutely nothing to bring to South Africa," he said.
In the space of three weeks, Johan Botha has transformed from a captain who was struggling to control his Twenty20 side to a man who has led admirably in the 50-over format. Not only has he juggled his bowlers and placed his fields well, he has also led by example. Only Steyn and Ntini have taken more wickets in the series than Botha's seven at 21.42. He has been easily South Africa's most economical bowler and his variations in pace and flight have contributed to Australia's middle-order problems.
Australia have regained Michael Clarke, who was resting due to a thumb injury, and Nathan Bracken after his minor calf problem. It adds significant strength to both the batting and bowling departments and Cameron White will find it hard to hold his place with Clarke's return. Australia's main choice is likely to be whether to include three or four fast bowlers. Ben Hilfenhaus is the man most in danger of missing out if they choose to rely on David Hussey and Clarke for ten overs.