Johannesburg - Australia coach Darren Lehmann is expecting a fiery series when his side meets the Proteas in the five-match Momentum One-Day International series that starts in Centurion next Friday.
Speaking Wednesday afternoon after the Australians had jetted into Johannesburg, Lehmann said his young team was looking forward to facing up to South Africa in home conditions and expected the verbal jousting between the players to provide an intriguing back-drop to the series.
Before their departure, the Australian captain, Steve Smith had bemoaned the quiet, almost shy group, he had led in the Test series in Sri Lanka, which Australia lost 0-3, and called on the younger members of the team to express themselves more on the field and to “puff out their chests” in keeping with the traditional Australian way.
Lehmann agreed with his skipper but felt that Australia’s one-day side was different from its Test team in that the players were more inclined towards sledging. “Steven hit it right on the head. It’s more so in the Test match arena. The one-day guys are pretty vocal. I think this will be a fiery series,” said Lehmann.
“One of the great things about these two countries is they play it really hard on the field, but get along really well off it. I don’t think the noise will be an issue in this series for both sides.”
Both South Africa and Australia will play Ireland in a pair of one-off ODIs in Benoni before the five match series next week.
The Australians have brought a young side to South Africa, particularly their attack which features three players; Daniel Worrall, Chris Tremain and Joe Mennie, who have yet to play a senior international.
“We do turn over (players) a bit in our one-day set up because you’ve got to give the Test players a break somewhere,” said Lehmann. Australia have left the new ball pair, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood at home to rest, with an eye on the Test series against South Africa in November.
“For us we’ve chopped and changed since the World Cup final (last year) and we’re making sure we give everyone enough game time because we’re looking ahead to major tournaments - there’s the Champions Trophy next year and then in 2019 the next World Cup.”
Australia will face Ireland at Willowmoore Park in Benoni next Tuesday.
The first of the five One-Day Internationals between the Proteas and the Australians will be played at SuperSport Park next Friday.