Reuters India – JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – It was not long ago that Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine was considering giving up the game entirely.
- Cricket – South Africa vs Australia – Third Test – Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa – March 25, 2018 Australia’s Tim Paine during the post match press conference REUTERS/Mike HutchingsPaine was a surprise, and in some quarters unpopular, pick for the Ashes against England four months ago, yet a remarkable period of upheaval has seen him elevated to skipper for the final test against South Africa starting on Friday.
- Now 33 and edging towards the end of his career, Paine can help engineer a victory against the odds that would level the series against South Africa and salvage some pride for Australian cricket after the team’s reputation was shredded.
- Yet while Smith’s career soared and he became the golden boy of Australian cricket, Paine has played just 12 tests in the years since, eight of those in the last four months.
- He undoubtedly faces the biggest test of his career at The Wanderers as he seeks to lift morale in a squad that has been shattered by the loss of Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft following the scandal in Cape Town.
- South Africa are likely to field the same side that were victorious in Cape Town as they seek a first home series victory against Australia since 1970, going into the final test with a 2-1 lead.