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Australia in a spin as Zampa laid low by illness

Cricket

Australia’s wish for a spin-friendly pitch in Durban has been granted but illness may deny Adam Zampa a chance to shine.

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Zampa is the frontline spinner in Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup squad, a highly-important role given the event is being hosted by India.

Australia’s tune-up for that tournament is a three-match T20 series against South Africa that starts at 2.30am ACDT on Saturday.

Zampa has been laid low by a stomach bug and could miss the sold-out series opener at Kingsmead.

“We’ll announce the team at the toss. Adam Zampa is a little bit crook,” skipper Steve Smith said.

“He’s not training [today], which could change a few things.”

Zampa will be keen to bowl on a wicket that both teams expect to offer some assistance to tweakers.

“That’ll be good for both sides, obviously the World Cup is just over a week away and those are probably the kind of conditions we’re going to come up against there,” Smith said.

Smith and coach Darren Lehmann both made public pleas for South African curators to replicate subcontinent conditions.

“I see Smithy’s chat there helped quite a bit by saying that the conditions will be slow in South Africa,” Proteas captain Faf du Plessis smirked.

“It looks like it will be slow here, so we’ll just have to adapt… it’s really important for us to make smart decisions on the field, generally the teams who do that best in India are the teams that do better.”

Zampa made his international debut against New Zealand last month but is yet to play a T20 for Australia.

Du Plessis admitted he didn’t know much about the 23-year-old, one of many fresh faces in a new-look attack.

“Zampa, the legspinner, is pretty new,” du Plessis said.

“That’s a great challenge against an Australian team, that we don’t know all the bowlers that well.

“How quickly can you get used to their action and try and put some pressure on them?

“Australia are a very great cricketing nation so whoever they put on the park will be a very strong team. … they’ve got some great match-winners in the squad.”

Smith agreed.

“We’ve got a very good side to win T20 tournaments and series,” the 26-year-old said.

“A good mix of explosive batters, some guys that get off strike really well. A lot of wicket-takers and a good fielding side, which is really important in T20 cricket.”

James Faulkner and Aaron Finch have both overcome hamstring injuries.

Faulkner is expected to join Shane Watson and Mitch Marsh in an XI laden with allrounders, while Finch and Usman Khawaja appear locked in a battle for one spot in the side.

-AAP

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