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Test stars sent back to Sheffield Shield

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Where to now for Australia's bumbling batsmen? The Sheffield Shield.

Every member of the Test side beaten so comprehensively by South Africa in Hobart will return to first-class cricket on Thursday, with the exception of pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Joe Mennie.

The likes of Adam Voges, Joe Burns and Callum Ferguson - who contributed a combined total of seven runs in the lopsided second Test - will return to their states in an effort to rediscover much-needed confidence.

If the second Test ran to a fifth day, they would have been denied the chance to play Shield matches in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

No Australian player was expected to be released, with most states having named their squads earlier this week.

But now they, like countless hopefuls around the country, will be desperate to impress national selectors that have already sharpened their axe.

"It's an important round for all players around the country, not just the XI who played in this game," coach Darren Lehmann said.

"It's a really good chance for all the players who are playing Shield cricket again to put their hand up."

Test stars won't be removed from the Shield contests after one innings, with Lehmann confirming they'll all play an entire game.

The news will please many pundits who had bemoaned the fact Steve Smith and his colleagues only had one Shield match to prepare for the three-Test series against South Africa.

"I don't think they've played enough cricket ... there's no substitute for time in the middle," ABC commentator and former Test opener Chris Rogers said.

National selectors could wait until Sunday to settle on Australia's squad for the day-night Test against the Proteas, which starts on Thursday week.

Steve Smith had a simple message for the misfiring middle order he carried throughout the innings-and-80-run loss at Bellerive.

"Try and spend some time out in the middle (during the Shield games) and score some runs," Smith said.

"It's not happening at the moment, so we've got to try and find a way to get better ... and I guess concentrate on some of the things that I've talked about to the team.

"That's being able to be resilient, spend long periods out in the middle and get some big scores and put some big partnerships together."

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