JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 27, Graeme Smith during the South African national cricket team departure press conference at OR Tambo International Airport on October 27, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

Perth - South Africa captain Graeme Smith won the toss and chose to bat first in the third and potentially decisive final Test against Australia at the WACA on Friday.

The number one ranking in Test cricket is on the line in the match with the hosts needing a win to return to the summit of the game, while a draw will suffice for South Africa to retain the ICC mace.

South Africa gave a debut to Dean Elgar, the lefthanded batsman and occasional spinner who was called up to the touring squad when JP Duminy ruptured his Achilles tendon during the first test. Jacques Rudolph was dropped.

All rounder Jacques Kallis recovered sufficiently from his hamstring injury to take his place in the team, although he has already confirmed he will be unable to bowl.

Paceman Vernon Philander returned after missing the Adelaide test with a back problem, rejoining the pace unit in place of Rory Kleinveldt.

Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson will play his first test in four years in place of Imran Tahir, who accumulated figures of 0-260 in Adelaide.

Australia also gave a debut to seamer John Hastings and recalled Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc in a complete overhaul of their pace bowling unit.

Spinner Nathan Lyon retained his place in the team with Josh Hazlewood handed the 12th man role.

All rounder Shane Watson also returns, while former captain Ricky Ponting will play his 168th and final test after announcing his retirement from international cricket on Thursday.


Australia - Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson, David Warner, Ed Cowan, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, John Hastings, Mitchell Johnson.

South Africa - Graeme Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson. - Reuters