Australia v South Africa first Test live: Cricket scores, teams, highlights, toss, how to stream

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Australia has won the toss and elected to bowl first on the Gabba’s green mamba pitch.

The Brisbane wicket looks almost the same colour as the outfield and with cloudy skies also overhead, Australia will back its pace attack led by Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland to cause damage to South Africa’s inexperienced batting order.

Australia won last year’s Gabba Test bowling first – albeit England had elected to bat – with Starc famously taking a wicket off the very first ball of the match.

“Looks like there’s a little bit of colour in the wicket,” said Cummins, who comes into the XI after missing last week’s West Indies demolition through injury.

“It might be a bit misleading the colour, but it feels hard. No matter what happens today hopefully it’s a good batting wicket.”

The last visiting captain to win the toss, bowl first and win at the Gabba was New Zealand’s Jeremy Coney back in 1985, according to expert Louis Cameron.

England skipper Nasser Hussain famously got sucked into thinking there might be a bit of nip in the green wicket and was fretting about taking 20 wickets with the Kookaburra ball when he made his ill-fated decision to bowl first at the Gabba.

Cummins replaces Michael Neser in the only change for the Australians, while South African skipper Dean Elgar said he would’ve opted to bat first regardless.


Bowl first at the Gabba? Surely not… Nasser Hussain still has nightmares about making that wrong decision two decades ago.

But Australian greats Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer reckon it’s the way to go today, having viewed a Gabba wicket that is greener than any they’ve seen before.

“It is very rare as a team playing here to think about bowling first but whoever wins the toss will definitely bowl first,” Ponting said on Channel 7 ahead of the toss.

“Now there is even a little more cloud cover which will make it harder for the batters.”

Added Langer: “I’d very be surprised whichever captain wins the toss doesn’t bowl first. We say that but I’d be very, very tempted to bowl first on the greenest Test wicket ever.”

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Australian quick Mitchell Starc suggested the first session was likely to be dangerous, but poured a bit of cold water on the plan to bowl first.

“From all reports it’s been green to start with but it gets better,” Starc told Seven.

“If you get through the first session as a batting unit, it gets better, you can cash in.

“It doesn’t really deteriorate, the forecast isn’t overly hot. Likewise if you get the balls in the right areas it can certainly do a bit. Certainly got that tinge but it is quite firm. You don’t read into the colour of it.”


South Africa believe Australia has played into their hands as they plot a bang or bust mission on an eye-popping green top at the Gabba.

The fiery Proteas will risk losing to win by unleashing a four-pronged pace attack on Australia and may even tempt cracking the Nasser Hussain curse and choose to bowl first if given the chance.

Australia are ready for an onslaught and the likes of Marnus Labuschagne even practiced for the fight for survival on Friday, facing extra bouncy indoor cricket balls designed to imitate the way the South Africans might slingshot them through in the anticipated first rematch since Sandpapergate.

For the Proteas’ 150km/h cartel, the Gabba has made them feel they’re home on the Kingsmead wicket at Durban, nicknamed ‘The Green mamba’ after the highly venomous striking snake.

“It looks like this grass we’re standing on at the moment,” a delighted South African captain, Dean Elgar said from the outfield.

“The green colour doesn’t scare us. This is one of the wickets where if you get in you can really capitalise. But from a bowling point of view you know there’s a length you really need to hit and you can get some rich rewards.

“The wicket does look a little friendly for our bowling unit which is nice. We come from South Africa where the wickets are pretty green and juicy. From a personal point of view, I don’t really shy away from that and I know our batters don’t away from that either. It should be interesting. “

South Africa will play five specialist bowlers including quicks Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje and 22-year-old left-arm destroyer, Marco Jansen.

Australia know the quality of a rapid left-armer, with Mitchell Starc only four scalps away from 300 Test wickets, and have put extra preparation into facing Jansen – who represents a major point of difference from any fast man they’ve faced over recent summers.



Pat Cummins has revealed Cameron Green took minor hamstring soreness into the start of the Test summer, but is now ready to launch into top gear against South Africa.

Green looked slightly out of sync with bat and ball against the West Indies.

The lack of game time he received on account of Australia’s dominance is some cause for concern heading into a clash against the heavy-duty Proteas, who possess the firepower to expose the home side’s top order.

But Cummins declared he is set to make a point of upping Green’s involvement as a go-to wicket-taking option against South Africa to match the quality Australia are expecting to face, and the fact the young all-rounder now has more miles in his legs.

“Somewhere (at a ground like) here I’ll probably rotate the bowlers around to get him a shot with a swinging ball,” Cummins said.

“He bowled beautifully here last year. He got the big wicket of Joe Root (in the Ashes).

“Coming into the series (against the Windies) he wasn’t under any restrictions but he’s still coming off a hamstring injury.

“We don’t really want to burn him in the first couple of games. So any overs he didn’t bowl in the first two Tests hopefully means he can bowl a few more here.”

In Perth, Green bowled 23 overs to prove the hamstring soreness picked up in the first ODI against England last month was extremely minor.

But in Adelaide, he was only required to bowl six first innings overs, and struggled for rhythm with the bat as well, scoring 9 off 42 balls having been forced to watch his teammates bat for 300 straight overs without needing to put the pads on himself.

The Australians are confident the Windies’ series is just another crucial part of Green’s development as a prodigy who is learning his craft on the run at Test level.

Green shapes as a huge point of difference in this series, given South Africa are playing five bowlers and do not have an all-rounder to balance the line-up.

“He’s great, he’s had really good preparation like everyone else,” said Cummins.

“Everyone is so eager to perform which is how you want everyone to be.

“Two Tests matches into the summer and it feels like he’s hardly got a bat.

“He’s got a huge role to play this series, like he does every series. We’ll probably get more overs into him than the first two Test matches as well. He’ll be a huge part of the summer.”

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