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Aussies in must-win scenario

Steve Smith says the one-day series versus South Africa is anything but a warm-up for summer's Tests
Aussies in must-win scenario
Photo Source: AP

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It was cold and wet but the Australian cricket team's arrival in the South African city of Durban on Tuesday was a welcome relief for the tourists.

The coastal city was a stark contrast to the dry and dusty bowler's graveyards in Centurion and Johannesburg where they were well beaten in the first two one-day internationals against the Proteas.

A fresh start is what the Australians need given those results on the Highveld mean no more slip ups can be allowed in the remaining three matches of the series.

Australia hold a good record at Durban's Kingsmead ground, where Wednesday's third match will be held, winning five of their seven ODIs against the Proteas at the venue.

Ricky Ponting's 2003 World Cup-winning side also defeated Kenya by five wickets at the ground during that tournament.

And it is Australia's knockout record the world champions are drawing on heading into Wednesday's must-win clash.

Batsman George Bailey says the team has made the decision to approach the remainder of the series like a mini-World Cup, with the fifth ODI in Cape Town earmarked as a final.

"We think our record in knockout tournaments has been pretty good in recent history so the way we're looking at is we've really got a quarter-final, semi-final and final to go," he said.

"We'll have to adapt pretty quickly ... it doesn't really matter where we play because both teams are in the same conditions.

"Certainly for the quicks it'd be nice to get out of the high altitude.

"Our guys are very new to international cricket, a lot of our bowlers, so wherever we go they're going to have to learn and adapt really quickly."

Australia's selectors will have to decide whether to stick with fast bowlers Chris Tremain and Joe Mennie after their horror debuts at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Mennie conceded 0-82 off his 10 overs - the worst figures for an Australian on ODI debut - with Tremain's 1-78 the next worst by an Aussie bowler in their first one-day match.

The pair were brought into the team for game two in place of Scott Boland and Dan Worrall.

The more experienced Boland is a possibility to return with the three newcomers likely to battle for the other spot.

South Africa have the option of recalling star batsman Hashim Amla after he was curiously overlooked for game two.

Captain Faf du Plessis admitted post-match he and coach Russell Domingo wanted Amla to play after he missed the first match with a virus but selectors were keen to stick with a winning team.

Fast bowler Wayne Parnell joked Amla had taken to practising his right-arm off-spinners in a bid to get back into the team.

But Parnell, who took 3-40 in the Proteas' win on Sunday, said the final call still rested with selectors.

"Whatever the selectors go with on Wednesday, that's their headache," he said.

Wednesday match starts at 1.30pm (2230AEDT).


Won 6, lost 2

Biggest win: 141 runs v South Africa, Apr 2009

Biggest defeat: 7 wickets v South Africa, Feb 1994

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