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Smith challenges SA to hit them with spin

Australia and South Africa both look to claim home advantage as the ODI tri-series action moves to Barbados

Australia captain Steve Smith has challenged South Africa to hit Australia with a three-man spin attack for their clash in Barbados on Monday morning (AEST).

Proteas spin trio Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso proved too good for the Australians on a slow wicket in Guyana 11 days ago, while Tahir and Phangiso combined for half of the wickets to fall in their loss to the Aussies in St Kitts last week.

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South Africa's spin coach Claude Henderson has raised the possibility of all three slow bowlers being named for the clash at Kensington Oval, something Smith said would suit the Australians perfectly.

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"I'd actually quite like it if they played three spinners on this wicket," Smith said of the surface at the venue of Australia's 2007 World Cup final triumph, which he said is "as close to Australian conditions as we'd get here in the Caribbean".

"I don't think it'll spin as much as the other wickets have in this series. I think it'll be pretty evenly paced and have a bit more bounce and carry.

"So they can play three spinners if they like, I think that'll play into our hands quite nicely."

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Henderson, who played seven Tests and four ODIs for South Africa between 2001 and 2002, acknowledged the surface in Barbados typically offered more bounce and carry than what was available in Guyana and St Kitts.

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But he said the variation provided by South Africa's tweakers - leg-spinner Tahir, left-arm orthodox Phangiso and chinaman Shamsi - would challenge batsmen in any conditions.

"Barbados, I’ve been told, is a better batting wicket with a bit more bounce,” Henderson said. "I also believe the boundaries are also a bit bigger.

"Who knows, do we go in with three spinners, is that an option?

"I am always in favour of spin, I feel sides don’t really prepare that well against spin like they do for pace bowling. It’s nice to have this variation for this series."

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Smith's assessment of the conditions was echoed by Proteas allrounder Chris Morris, who has labelled Kensington Oval "The Wanderers of the Caribbean" in reference to the pace-friendly conditions at the famous Johannesburg venue.

Tahir, who Henderson labelled "the number one ODI bowler in the world" following his South African record haul of 7-45 against the West Indies this week, will undoubtedly test the Australians with his variations, particularly his wrong-un that has bamboozled batsmen around the world.

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But it's the variations of rookie left-armer Shamsi that the Australians had the most trouble with on his debut in Georgetown, where he took just one wicket but induced several false shots with his ability to turn the ball both ways.

Smith said his batsmen would have to show some patience against the Shamsi, who took 2-41 against the Windies this week, as they become accustomed to his unique style.

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"I haven't faced Shamsi personally so that might take a little while to get used to," he said.

"It's a bit of a different action, there's not too many chinaman bowlers around the world these days.

"It looks like he's got pretty good variations, spinning the ball both ways. So it might just be about taking a little bit of time to get used to it.

"And then from there, being nice and positive. I think that's the best way we play spinners.

"Hit them straight down the ground and it's the kind of wicket where I expect there won't be as much turn, so it should be a little bit easier to play the spinners."

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The two teams go into the match separated by just one point on the ODI tri-series table, with the West Indies a further point adrift, meaning a win would all but assure the victor a spot in the series decider on June 27.

But the loser would be vulnerable going into their final preliminary match against the Windies, who Australia will play on Wednesday morning (AEST) and the South Africans three days later.

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Smith said their shock loss to the West Indies last Tuesday could prove to be the fillip they needed to go all the way to the final.

"Obviously it's a different group here but if we look back to the World Cup (in 2015), we had that wake-up call against New Zealand in New Zealand," he said.

"From there we started to play our best cricket, so hopefully we had a wake-up call the other day losing to the West Indies and the guys are going to be up for the challenge.

"It's a pretty tight table at the moment. We have to win one more of our last two games and that'll basically put us in the final.

"And we'd like to wrap that up tomorrow against South Africa."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith