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Wade's unique pink-ball challenge

Cricket

He’s been recalled to keep wickets, but how long he keeps guard of them will be equally important to Matthew Wade.

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The third Test against South Africa in Adelaide starting this afternoon will be Wade’s first in more than three and a half years for Australia.

And as if the colourblind star doesn’t have enough to worry about with the pink ball in use for the day-night fixture, Wade is also under pressure to make runs.

Averaging 34.61 with two centuries, Wade has replaced Peter Nevill, whose 22.28 average without a ton in his 17 Tests brought the NSW keeper undone.

Nevill is seen as a superior gloveman, but Wade has been ushered back as much to contribute with the bat after a succession of humiliating Australian collapses in the first two Test drubbings at the hands of the Proteas in Perth and Hobart.

“His keeping has improved. He’s worked a lot harder in the last couple of seasons. He’s kept well in the Shield matches that I’ve seen,” noted national selector Mark Waugh on Inside Cricket.

“He’s a real fighter and with the bat he’s quite an aggressive player. So he’s the sort of batsman at No.7 who can take the game away from the opposition.

“We’ve lacked a lot of runs – well from the top order – but six, seven and eight have given us really nothing in the last five games so he shores that middle to late order up.

“He’s made two Test hundreds already so he’s a quality batsman so we’re looking for some performances from him as well.”

Former Australian captain and selector Allan Border fully agrees with Wade’s recall.

“I sort of had him in my team last week,” he said.

“I just think the side lacks a little bit of get up and go, a bit of mongrel was my terminology and he certainly brings that to the table.

“We know what he can do with the bat in hand. He’s made a couple of Test hundreds, important hundreds, and his wicketkeeping has improved.

“He probably needs some more improving in that area, but I just think the side needed something extra that Matthew Wade will bring to the table.”

-AAP

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