South Africa vs Australia series: Expect a neck-and-neck encounter
A fiercely contested encounter between Australia and South Africa is expecting in the series. May the best team win!
Another Australia–South Africa series and again the anticipations run high. Once more the number one ranking in Tests will be on the line – just goes to show how evenly the top three to four Test teams in the world are matched for the rankings to be on the line so often.
This series, as was the series between England and South Africa, will be the battle of the pace attacks. South Africa currently possesses the best pace attack in the world with Dale Steyn being the torch bearer. Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander are a handful too, and with the pitches providing ample support, Australia’s batsmen will face a tough challenge.
South Africa’s batsmen won’t find it easy either as Australia’s fast bowling stocks are plenty as well. Even though Pat Cummins is out with a stress fracture, Mitchell Starc, Ben Hillfenhaus and Peter Siddle are still there to challenge the opposing batsmen.
Interestingly, none of the teams possesses a quality spinner that could play the decisive role in the encounter. South Africa has almost never had a quality spinner amongst their lineup and since Warne, and MacGill retired, Australia is struggling as well. Incidentally, Warne is the has taken the most wickets against South Africa and was the trump card during Australia’s dominance against South Africa. From 2000 to 2006, the score board read 10-1 in Australia’s favour. The last three series have resulted in a score line of 4-4 with one series a piece for both the teams, and the third one ending in a draw.
Australia’s batting will be relying a lot on Ponting and Hussey. They may be ageing but still are class acts and with Clarke between the two stalwarts, the middle order looks all set. It is the top order that may be have problems with Watson out injured and Rob Quiney making his debut instead in the first Test. Steyn and Morkel might just be licking their lips.
South Africa’s batting lineup has a more settled look to it with Smith, Amla, Kallis and de Villiers forming the backbone around which the rest of the players will play. Had Cummins not been injured, it would have been interesting to see his battle with Kallis. During the last series, he had announced himself on the world stage and had the better of the veteran.
Australia – South Africa encounters generally have been fiercely contested with a very small percentage ending in draws and we should expect nothing else in the series. The first Test should lay out the story to unfold with whoever winning being better placed to take the series and the number one ranking.
May the best team win!
Read more by Dr Amyn here or follow him on Twitter @amynmalik