Australia's selectors have responded to the threat of a first-ever Test series sweep on home soil by dropping five players from their squad for the third match against South Africa, which begins in Adelaide on Thursday.
Joe Burns, Adam Voges and Callum Ferguson, as well as wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, paid the price for a string of batting collapses, while seamer Joe Mennie was also axed after the innings defeat in the second Test in Hobart.
Four uncapped players — openers Matt Renshaw and Nic Maddinson, wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Handscomb and seamer Chadd Sayers — came into the 12-man squad.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade and seamer Jackson Bird, both given previous chances at Test level before being discarded, were also recalled.
Chief selector Rod Marsh stood down from his post ahead of schedule last week and so on Sunday it was his temporary replacement Trevor Hohns who wielded the axe in Adelaide.
Given the brilliant form that the South Africans are exhibiting at the moment, it will be a major challenge for the debutants to make the most of the opportunity that has been handed to them in the wake of a massive slide in Australian cricket.
Here's a look at the journeys of the four rookies in the Australian squad for the final Test at Adelaide:
The Queensland opener could have played top-level cricket for England alongside childhood buddy and leading batsman Joe Root, but fate had other plans for young Renshaw.
The right-handed batsman was born in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom, and his parents decided to move to New Zealand when he was only seven, before eventually settling down in Queensland five years later. His parents though, insist that he is as Australian as Andrew Symonds.
"Matt is a bit like Andrew Symonds, you couldn’t get more Aussie or more Ocker than him," father Ian Renshaw was quoted as saying by The Courier Mail.
Much like David Warner, Renshaw will be making his way into the Australian Test side without any domestic experience, should he get the Baggy Green this Thursday.
Among his key accomplishments in the 11 First-Class appearances is a 395-ball 170 against New South Wales, becoming the youngest centurion for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield. The other factors that played their part in his call-up were his 94 against South Africa A earlier this year, in which he battled an attack comprising Vernon Philander.
Having played two T20Is before, Maddinson is the only one among the rookies to understand the pressure of playing international cricket. However, Test cricket will be a completely different ball game for him, should he get picked.
Maddinson, 24, became the youngest player to score a century on Sheffield Shield debut for New South Wales in 2010.
"Nic is an exciting and talented young player and we feel now is the ideal time for him to be involved with the Australian team," Australian interim chief selector Trevor Hohns told AFP.
As far as his First-Class credentials are concerned, he managed to bring himself into the selectors' radar with a century for New South Wales against Western Australia earlier this month, which was preceded by a consistent run in the Matador One-Day Cup.
Like Renshaw, Handscomb too holds a British passport, courtesy his English parents. However, he was born in Melbourne, and has grown up in Australia.
Handscomb, who has played for Rising Pune Supergiants in the Indian Premier League, has had a fantastic run for Victoria in the ongoing Sheffield Shield, slamming consecutive fifties before hitting a fluent double-hundred (batting for 470 minutes) against New South Wales that played a key role in setting up a big win for his side.
A talent in tennis who eventually chose cricket over the racquet sport, Handscomb had earlier been picked for Australia's squad for the ODI series in their tour to England, though he failed to get a game as Australia made up for losing the Ashes by winning the series 3-2.
The South Australian seamer burst into the Australian domestic scene in the 2012-13 season, taking 48 wickets at an average of 18.5, winning the 'Neil Dansie Medal' for being the state association's player of the season.
He got off to a terrific start in the latest edition of the Sheffield Shield, recording career-best figures of 6/32 to bowl Tasmania out for a paltry 98, before recording a five-for in the next innings to setup an innings win for South Australia.
He was backed into First-Class selection by the likes of Carl Hooper, who served as coach for the Woodville District Cricket Club in Adelaide as well as South Australia's second XI.
Noted for his ability to swing the ball both ways at medium pace, it has earned him comparisons with former Australian pacer Terry Alderman.
(With inputs from agencies)
Published Date: Nov 20, 2016 03:14 pm | Updated Date: Nov 20, 2016 03:14 pm