Smith out, Watson back for first ODI vs Proteas
The opening one-day international will take place against South Africa in Perth on Friday.
MELBOURNE - Australia batsman Steven Smith will be rested for the opening one-day international against South Africa in Perth on Friday, with all-rounder Shane Watson returning to the side after recovering from injury.
Smith was named man-of-the-series when Australia swept Pakistan 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates, but will be grounded until at least Sunday's second match at the WACA.
Watson, fit for an ODI for the first time since he faced England in Adelaide in January, will bat at number three, captain Michael Clarke told reporters in Perth on Thursday.
Watson missed out on Australia's one-day tournament in Zimbabwe with South Africa after hurting his foot when he stepped on a ball at training and then missed the UAE tour against Pakistan after straining a calf.
"I think it's great that Watto's back on the field, first and foremost," Clarke said. "I've said for a very long time that if he's batting and bowling, he's in any team.
"If he can stay fit and healthy I think that can help us a lot in all three formats of the game.
"He's a senior member of the team so his leadership and experience is really important."
Seamer Josh Hazlewood returns for his first ODI in over a year, joining Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Coulter-Nile in a three-pronged pace attack. No specialist spinner has been picked for the WACA's fast and bouncy wicket.
Matthew Wade will replace injured wicketkeeper Brad Haddin as Australia battle South Africa for a chance to dislodge India at the top of the world rankings.
Selectors have chosen a squad for only the first two matches of the series, suggesting they remain some way off deciding on a final 15 for the World Cup starting in February on home soil and in New Zealand.
Clarke, who is not a member of the selectors panel, said he hoped they would pick the final squad before Australia's triangular tournament with England and India starting 11 January to allow time for the team to gel before the World Cup.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood, Steven Smith (12th man)