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"He must play, not mix cordial!" Sayers in line for Test debut as selectors swing axe

Cricket

Never had Chadd Sayers been so ecstatic after a Sheffield Shield loss.

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The South Australian was admittedly shattered after Queensland finally ended his stubborn resistance with the bat to seal a last-gasp 128-run win at the Gabba yesterday.

The Redbacks were denied a gutsy draw when Sayers was the last wicket to fall, bowled by Jason Floros for 22, with 12 balls left on the final day.

But the smile quickly returned for the 29-year-old after being named in Australia’s squad for this week’s third Test against South Africa.

The late blooming swing bowler is expected to vie with Tasmania’s Jackson Bird to replace dumped third seamer Joe Mennie at Adelaide’s pink ball Test.

“There are mixed emotions at the moment – but I am sure I will get over that (loss) after tonight,” a beaming Sayers said.

Pink ball specialist Sayers is full of confidence ahead of a potential Test debut on his home deck in Adelaide – but that wasn’t the case not so long ago.

He emerged as a force when he topped the Shield wicket tally with 48 scalps at 18.52 in 2012-13 – only for the 130kph seamer to be told by national selectors he was “too slow”.

“I guess when you are taking wickets and then told you are not quick enough you probably question why,” said Sayers who took 0-79 and 2-43 against Queensland.

“But I pushed on, kept taking wickets and here I am… I am never going to be a bloke who blasts sides out.

“If I get the chance I am not going to change anything – I am going to keep doing what got me this far.”

He was the only South Australian called up for the third Test after Redbacks teammates Callum Ferguson, Travis Head and Jake Lehmann all failed to impress with their last chance with the bat in Brisbane.

Test hopefuls Head (34) and Lehmann (10) fell earlier on Sunday in the Redbacks’ second innings.

Incumbent Australia No.6 Ferguson had already squandered his last chance to impress, out for four in his second dig on Saturday.

However, Queensland’s England-born Matt Renshaw earned a baggy green for the pink ball Test – albeit at the expense of his Bulls opening partner Joe Burns.

Renshaw, 20, hit 108 and a quick-fire 50 at the Gabba to earn man of the match honours.

But Burns failed again in Brisbane.

In his last six first class knocks, he has now amassed just 18 runs at an average of three.

Sayers, Renshaw, and batsmen Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb could all make Test debuts against South Africa in Adelaide, with Matthew Wade and Jackson Bird also recalled as selectors swung the axe.

Joe Burns, Callum Feruson, Adam Voges, Peter Nevill and Joe Mennie have all made way after the second Test loss in Hobart.

Australia hasn’t given debuts to four players in one Test since 1978.

But in a stunning carve-up after Rod Marsh quit as chairman of selectors last week, selectors led by interim chairman Trevor Hohns made drastic changes.

Burns was dumped after one Test back as David Warner’s opening partner, while SA’s Ferguson and Mennie were unceremoniously axed after both failed on Test debut in Hobart.

Gloveman Nevill has been dropped for Wade, with the selectors citing the latter’s form with the bat.

Handscomb, 25, and Maddinson, 24, are set for debuts in the middle-order.

Hohns said Renshaw had “established himself in a short period of time as one of the best young opening bats in the country”.

“His form is currently very good and we see him as a very exciting prospect for the future,” Hohns said in a statement.

“Peter’s form over the last couple seasons, and with Australia A, has been very consistent. He has a good all-round game and we think he is the type of player who could succeed at the next level.

“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. He has the ability to break the game open and we think he will flourish in this environment.”

Squad:

Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Lyon, Matt Renshaw, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (12th man to be named).

-AAP

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