Australia’s batting line-up was extremely weak against the South Africans.
The Marsh brothers are only there because they scored runs against an ageing English bowling line, while as a senior batsman Usman Khawaja has been far too inconsistent. Peter Handscomb should never have been picked, because he’s been out of form since the start of the Sheffield Shield season.
All four need to be dropped.
New openers Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw only just arrived in South Africa, without any preparation, so their poor form shouldn’t be counted against them.
With important series against India and England coming up in the next 18 months, the Australian team needs to pick in-form players.
Australia’s next Test series is against Zimbabwe and a new look side should be taking the field.
Renshaw had a poor start to the Sheffield Shield season, which resulted in him being dropped from the Test team. Renshaw responded well to his axing, scoring three centuries and three fifties and finished the season as the competition’s leading run-scorer with 804 runs at 44.66.
Burns had an excellent Shield season, scoring 725 runs at 55.76. His season was marred by an injury he sustained during the Big Bash, which ruled him out of the initial squad for the South Africa Test series.
One of the casualties of the Hobart debacle, Ferguson has had an excellent Shield season, scoring 780 runs at 48.75. Ferguson has spent several seasons batting at three for South Australia which makes him an ideal candidate to bat at three in the Test team.
Despite not making the Victorian Shield team at the start of the season, White had a great season, scoring 574 runs at 52.18.
Maxwell had an excellent season, scoring 707 runs at 50.50 and was unlucky not to be picked during the Ashes or make the initial squad for the South Africa series.
Wade had a poor start to the Shield season, which saw him lose his Test spot. Following his axing, Wade has had a good run of form to finish the season with 654 runs at 43.60.
Wade, along with Renshaw, were the only players to score three centuries this season. Wade’s keeping experience means that he should field at short leg.
Tim Paine (captain, wicketkeeper)
Paine’s batting and keeping has been excellent since being recalled for the Ashes.
Cummins was Australia’s best bowler during the South Africa series.
The main concern over Starc is his fitness. Hopefully he will have recovered in time for the Test series.
Nathan Lyon (vice-captain)
Lyon has bowled extremely well over the past year and is Australia’s undisputed Test spinner.
Hazlewood bowled well during the South Africa series and was unlucky not to take more wickets.