South Africa v Australia ODI - Men's
Australians train in bushfire smoke ahead of first ODI
Sold-out first ODI against South Africa expected to go ahead despite fire in mountain range near Paarl intensifying on Friday
Martin Smith in Paarl
29 February 2020, 09:44 AM AEST
Australia’s cricketers trained on Friday ahead of their series-opening ODI against the Proteas despite thick bushfire smoke in the winelands region of South Africa’s Western Cape.
A fire in the Du Toitskloof mountain range near Paarl, the venue for Saturday’s first ODI, intensified on Friday after two days of strong winds in Cape Town and the surrounding areas.
Best wishes to the fire crews battling a blaze near Boland Park in Paarl, where the Aussie cricketers trained on Friday ahead of the first ODI against South Africa #SAvAUS pic.twitter.com/n82EnPlqgc— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 28, 2020
Australia trained at the boutique Boland Park on Friday afternoon (local time) but the normally spectacular view of the nearby mountains was clouded by heavy smoke from the fire, which has reportedly forced some local farm workers and animals to evacuate.
Players could see helicopters dropping water bombs as fierce gusts pushed smoke and dust across the ground.
But the smoke was not thick enough to be a safety concern for players, with both the South African and Australian teams training as normal.
The strong winds that buffeted Cape Town and the winelands on Thursday and Friday – the cable car on the famous Table Mountain was closed for safety reasons – are forecast to ease late on Saturday morning ahead of the day-night match, which is expected to go ahead as planned.
Australia’s devastating bushfires over the summer led to the abandonment of one KFC BBL match in Canberra due to health concerns, while Cricket Australia were prepared for January’s SCG Test being delayed due to smoke.
The 10,000-capacity Boland Park in Paarl, a short drive from the popular wine town of Stellenbosch and less than an hour out of Cape Town, is one of the most picturesque in the world owing to the view of the nearby Boland Mountains.
The venue has hosted 12 ODIs, including three games at the 2003 World Cup, and all 10,000 tickets for Saturday’s match sold out last week.
Australia's Qantas Tour of South Africa 2020
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitch Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
First T20: Australia won by 107 runs
Second T20: South Africa won by 12 runs
Third T20: Australia won by 97 runs