Jacques Kallis is a cricketer with tennis
elbow. No-one else seems to find this funny.
It certainly doesn’t tickle South African
cricket fans, for whom lateral epicondylitis is just the latest injury to drive
their heroes home mid-series. Kallis is following Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel and
Charl Langeveldt, depriving the Proteas not only of last year’s International
Player of the Year in Kallis, but also their entire frontline pace attack
with the exception of stalwart Shaun Pollock.
The replacement attack of Zondeki, Kruger,
Hall and Whoever Jumps The Fence has shown moments of genuine talent, but lacks
the discipline to consistently trouble Sri Lanka’s
young guns or the established Australian batting line-up.
Lucky for them then that they won’t be
bowling to either at the SCG today. Australia’s selectors have re-opened the revolving door, testing a number of
fringe players in key games. Simon Katich’s groin injury means Phil Jaques, a
man averaging 104 in domestic one-day cricket this season, will open the
batting, and because Adam Gilchrist is being rested, Jaques will open with
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Martyn has become an Australian cricket
paradox. Dumped from the Test side after the Ashes defeat, the Sandgroper has
been lauded since as a classic Australian batsman and bringer of “true cricket
shots” to Twenty20. If he never plays another Test, we’ll be the ones who
Brad Haddin replaces Gilchrist behind the
stumps for the next two games. Haddin is the Stuart MacGill of wicket
keeper-batsmen: if he hadn’t been born in the age of a freakish talent like
Gilchrist, he most likely would have enjoyed a long and distinguished career
for his country. With Gilchrist faltering for the first time, this is Brad
Haddin’s chance to campaign for an unlikely World Cup starting spot.
Finally, Brett Dorey is a two-metre-plus
paceman and former bodyguard whom almost no-one has seen bowl – and very few of
his Australian team mates had even heard of – when he was included in the VB
series squad. Expect some bounce from that altitude, but beyond that he, like
so much about today’s teams, remains a mystery.