1 Jan 2009

Aussie cricketers to take day off

9:30 am on 1 January 2009

Australia's struggling cricket team will prepare for the third Test against South Africa by giving themselves a day off today.

Graeme Smith's tourists, desperate to record a 3-nil whitewash against Australia, will train at the SCG nets after two days of partying to celebrate New Year and their nine-wicket win in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Opener Matthew Hayden, who has retained his place in Australia's team despite poor form this summer, will hold a press conference with former team-mate Glenn McGrath to promote the McGrath Foundation's charity ventures at the Sydney Test which starts on Saturday.

37-year-old Hayden needs something special to book himself a place in the squad to tour South Africa in February after scoring 313 runs at 22.35 in his past eight Tests.

The dead-rubber match carries plenty of significance for both sides.

Australia will be forced to hand over top ranking to South Africa if they lose the series 3-nil and it would be Australia's first whitewash defeat in a Test series in 122 years.