CAPE TOWN-South Africa will be boosted by the presence of their match-winning fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in the third Test against Australia starting Thursday but the visitors also received good news when Mitchell Starc was passed fit.

With the series tied 1-1, Rabada, who took 11 wickets in the second Test in Port Elizabeth, has successfully appealed against a ban, while Starc, Australia's match-winner in the first Test in Durban, has recovered from a sore calf. Conditions at Newlands are less likely to assist the fast reverse swing the pair achieved in the first two matches, but with a good covering of grass two days before the match, the pitch should offer more pace and bounce.

That could make the accuracy and persistence of South Africa 's Vernon Philander and Australia's Josh Hazlewood crucial. Philander has a remarkable record at Newlands, where he has taken 47 wickets in eight Tests at an average of 16.34 but Hazlewood will be playing in his first Test at the ground.

Philander has had mixed fortunes in two Tests against Australia at Newlands. He made a sensational debut in November 2011, taking five for 15 as Australia were bowled out for 47 in the second innings. He had match figures of eight for 78 in a South African win. But he could only take one for 158 in the match when a pair of centuries by David Warner led Australia to a series-clinching win in March 2014, the most recent occasion on which a Test has been played at the ground so late in a South African season.

Rabada's availability after overturning a ban for brushing the shoulder of Australia captain Steve Smith in the second Test simplifies South Africa 's selection, allowing the hosts to name a squad of 17 players to allow for a variety of combinations. Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon said his side had "no dramas" with the decision to clear Rabada and were looking forward to facing him again. "As Australian cricketers we always want to play against the best players in the world and KG (Rabada) is the number one bowler in the world," Lyon said. South Africa 's most likely selection debates are expected to be whether the extra bounce of Morne Morkel might earn him selection ahead of Lungi Ngidi or whether a fit-again Temba Bavuma should replace Theunis de Bruyn.

Australia are unlikely to make any changes to the team that has represented them in seven successive Tests. In addition to Starc, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh was passed fit after suffering a groin strain in Port Elizabeth.

There will be a complete change of match officials for the last two matches. Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe will take over from New Zealand's Jeff Crowe as match referee, while three English umpires will officiate in the middle and as television umpire.

Rabada cleared for Aussie Tests after shoulder barge appeal: South Africa 's Kagiso Rabada was cleared to play the remaining two Tests against Australia after winning an appeal against his ban over an alleged shoulder barge on Tuesday. The International Cricket Council said Rabada had been found not guilty of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with Australian captain Steve Smith after taking his wicket during the second Test in Port Elizabeth last week.

Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon said his side had "no dramas" with the decision to lift Rabada's ban and they were delighted to be facing "the number one bowler in the world" in the third Test starting at Newlands on Thursday. Judicial commissioner Michael Heron of New Zealand found Rabada guilty of the lesser charge of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game following an appeal hearing on Monday. Heron reduced Rabada's penalty from three demerit points to one, and reduced his fine from 50 percent to 25 percent of his match fee. Rabada's total of demerit points was therefore reduced from nine to seven, one short of the threshold for an automatic two-Test ban.

 Although the ICC announcement leaves Rabada free to play in the series that is locked at one win apiece, his cumulative points tally means that any further disciplinary action could result in a ban.

Heron said the key issue was whether Rabada made deliberate contact with Smith.  "I am not 'comfortably satisfied' that Mr. Rabada intended to make contact," Heron said.

"I am entitled, however, to consider whether the conduct involved constitutes a lower-level offence. I consider the conduct was inappropriate, lacked respect for his fellow player and involved non-deliberate and minor contact. The actions contravened the principle that a dismissed batsman should be left alone."

Rabada's ban was among the low points of a bad-tempered series, in which Australia's David Warner and South African Quinton de Kock were fined over a confrontation during the first Test.

Lyon said Australia had largely expected the decision. "We were preparing for him to play... As Australian cricketers we always want to play against the best players in the world and KG (Rabada) is the number one bowler in the world."

Lyon added: "It's going to be another great challenge for the batters and all of us. The ICC has made their decision and we respect them.  "That's their job, so we've got no dramas with them. Let's just move on and play some good cricket."

Cricket South Africa welcomed the outcome with acting chief executive Thabang Moroe thanking the legal team. Moroe said: "It is now important that everybody gets the focus back where it belongs on the game of cricket."

 

 

LIKELY TEAMS:

SOUTH AFRICA : Faf du Plessis (captain), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Theunis de Bruyn or Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi or Morne Morkel.

AUSTRALIA: Steve Smith (captain), Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wkt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.