David Warner and Steven Smith will aim to lead Australia back to winning ways © Getty Images
David Warner and Steven Smith will aim to lead Australia back to winning ways © Getty Images

Australia and South Africa lock horns once again for a second consecutive time in the Tri-Nations and the match is scheduled to be played at St Kitts. It is the fourth One-Day International (ODI) of the Tri-Nations that also includes West Indies, who are the hosts. In the previous match, South Africa went past Australia by 47 runs. Steven Smith and Co. struggled against the African spinners and seamers and will look to learn from their mistakes and come on the top on Saturday. In Australia’s first match that was against West Indies was a low-scorer game which did not test Australia’s batting. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, Tri-Nations Series, Match 4 at Basseterre

They were exposed when they faced a highly determined South African attack. With the venue being changed from Providence to St Kitts, Australia might go with an extra pacer, meaning only one spinner will be included. Will it be Nathan Lyon or Adam Zampa, here is the likely XI Smith might field on Saturday against the Proteas:

Top-order: On a particular day, David Warner failed; the end result went against the Australians. The explosive opener who has been in an impressive form off late became a huge wicket in the very second over in Australia’s previous match against South Africa. That dismissal put the Australians on the back foot immediately, and gave a huge booster to the men in green. However, it was Aaron Finch’s day, who was the lone fighter for his side.

Finch top-scored for Australia with 72 off 103. Had one player stuck with him in a partnership, Finch might have led Australia to a victory. Usman Khawaja comes in at No.3. The Pakistan-born player holds immense talent but has not been playing to his full potential. He was among the eight players who were dismissed for a single digit during Australia’s chase of 190. With Shaun Marsh injured, Khawaja has a great opportunity to mark his entity on that all-important No. 3 position. READ: AUS vs SA, Tri-Nation Series 2016: Preview and Predictions

Middle-order: The trio of Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh build the middle-order in the Australian line-up. The experience of the three put together goes up to 170 ODIs which indicates the amount of responsibility they hold. However, their scores in the last few ODIs have been disappointing. While Smith has not scored a fifty in the last 6 50-over games, Maxwell’s fifty is also old by same number of matches. The latter has poorer numbers with two ducks in his previous 6 innings.

Meanwhile, Marsh like Maxwell is an all-rounder and the duo will again retain their place in the playing XI for their bowling performances. Marsh and Maxwell have been economical and more importantly have managed to make breakthroughs and have made the job of the pacers easy with their bit of work. Down the order there is Matthew Wade. Although he is in the side purely as a wicketkeeper, Wade has decent numbers in limited-overs cricket. He has the capability to stick around if their regular batsmen fail on the top.

Bowlers: With St Kitts’ pitch being small and moreover livelier, pacers will be into the picture more than the spinners on Saturday. And this will force Australia to drop either Nathan Lyon or Adam Zampa in order to unleash their spearhead Mitchell Starc on the South Africans. Along with Starc, the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile will complete their pace attack. Even if one spinner plays, Australia always have a spin option in the shape of Maxwell.

All the three sides, Australia, West Indies and South Africa registered a win at Guyana. St Kitts bring in new challenges and atmosphere to settle in for the visitors. Let’s see which of the two—Australia or South Africa— come up with a better XI and seal the game.

Australia’s likely XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (c), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa/ Nathan Lyon, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood.

(Sakshi Gupta, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy.” Her Twitter handle is @sakshi2929)