7:00 PM (AEDST) Thursday, March 1 at Kingsmead, Durban
Modern day Test rivals Australia and South Africa will open their three match Test series in Durban on Thursday, with a tough battle expected.
Australia: Steve Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazelwood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Shawn Harsh.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Keshav Maharaj, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quentin de Kock, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
There has been 25 Test series played between these sides, with Australia winning 15 to South Africa’s 5, with 5 series drawn. 92 Test matches have been played with Australia winning 49 to the Proteas 23 while 20 games have been drawn. South Africa won the last series 2-1 in 2016. South Africa won the first test of the last series despite being pummelled by Australia in the first innings and then losing their strike pace bowler Dale Steyn to injury. They then followed it up by hammering Australia, before Australia claimed a solid win in the third test at Adelaide.
Australia’s home summer series saw them win the Ashes in a commanding series win over England, winning 4 games to nil. Prior to that series they had been kept to a 1 all drawn series with Bangladesh, which saw them lose their first ever game to Bangladesh in Test cricket.
South Africa scored a 2-1 series win against India back in January on home soil. Their only other Test cricket in the last 6 months was a big win in a one-off test against Zimbabwe and two months prior saw South Africa hammer Bangladesh 2-0, scoring two huge wins.
Australia’s middle order – Despite beating England convincingly, Australia’s middle order was far too often shown to be unreliable and brittle. Against the brilliant South African bowling attack, they could be exposed.
South Africa are in great form and on home soil, however Australia have proven to be quite stubborn under Steve Smith’s leadership. Too close to call.
South Africa $2.25