South Africa's Morne Morkel flips the ball up as he inspects the wicket at Hobart.
South Africa's Morne Morkel flips the ball up as he inspects the wicket at Hobart. Rick Rycroft

Du Plessis shoulders arms over Smith comments

CRICKET: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won't buy into comments about Australia's cricket culture being on the decline.

Du Plessis said he didn't know enough about the subject after one of his predecessors, Graeme Smith, made the claim following the Aussies' loss in Perth, their fourth successive Test defeat.

"I just read something about the culture and I'm always of the position if you don't know exactly what's going on, you can't comment on that,” du Plessis said.

"From the outside, it seems the same as always.”

The make-up of his team for the second Test in Hobart was du Plessis's main concern.

With spearhead Dale Steyn out with a broken shoulder, Morne Morkel and Kyle Abbott are in line to replace the veteran.

Morkel missed the second Test with a back injury that has sidelined him for two months and faces a fitness test before being named for Hobart.

Abbott may have the edge for Hobart's heavier wicket, which could mean long spells for the pace bowlers.

However, both could play if the weather prediction for Hobart comes true. Rain is expected to limit play tomorrow and Sunday.

Du Plessis said spinner Keshav Maharaj could be a shock omission, paving the way for Morkel and Abbott to play.

"There's a possibility of that,” du Plessis told reporters.

"If it becomes a really shortened game where it is going to be under covers and the ball's going to be wet, it's going to be cold and the pitch has more moisture ... that's something we will look at.

"It looks like there's going to be a little bit of rain tomorrow so, if it rains for the whole day, it becomes a four-day game.”



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