Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide

Australia carry stronger form to Adelaide

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

November 21, 2012

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Nathan Lyon sends down a delivery, West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 5th day, April 27, 2012
Nathan Lyon will be an important player for Australia at his home venue © Associated Press
November 22-26, Adelaide Oval
Start time 1030 (0000 GMT)

Big Picture

Australia and South Africa don't do draws. But for a Saturday completely lost to rain, that trend may well have continued at the Gabba. Instead, the teams have headed to Adelaide still locked at 0-0, although Australia took more positives from the Brisbane Test. After a disappointing first day on which their bowlers took only two wickets, they fought back to be in the prime position on the final day, but time ran out for them to manufacture a result. All the same, they will head in to the second Test knowing that Ed Cowan has proven himself a Test-quality opener, Michael Clarke's monumental 2012 has shown no signs of ending early, Michael Hussey has broken a seven-year century drought against South Africa, and most of the bowlers found form as the Gabba Test played out. David Warner remains a slight concern at the top of the order but in the main things are simmering away nicely in the Australian setup.

For South Africa, there wasn't much to like about the Gabba Test apart from the continued brilliance of Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis. Alviro Petersen showed why he should not be underestimated on the first day with 64, but that was about it. Questions remain around whether Jacques Rudolph offers enough value; since his return to the side last November he has played 12 Tests for one century. But more than the batting it was South Africa's bowling that left much to be desired at the Gabba. Perhaps they expected the pitch, by reputation a seamer but in reality a true surface, to do the work for them. Whatever the case, that they allowed 487 runs to pass between bowlers' wickets - Cowan's run-out was the only breakthrough on the fourth day - was a massive problem. Vernon Philander lacked impact, Dale Steyn showed only glimpses of his best and Morne Morkel needs to curb his habit of over-stepping on crucial deliveries. Not that any of these issues concerned the coach Gary Kirsten enough to encourage him to spend every day working with the squad between Tests; instead he flew home for a whistle-stop trip to see his wife and children.

At Adelaide Oval, the teams will again be greeted by a good batting surface. Life won't be easy for the fast men early on but the pitch will wear and provide some uneven bounce and help for the spinners later on. During the 1980s the venue had the reputation of being a ground where draws were almost inevitable but that is no longer a fair assessment, and only three of the past 20 Adelaide Tests have failed to find a winner. If that trend continues this year, whichever team comes out on top cannot lose the series. And if it's South Africa, the No.1 ranking will be out of Australia's reach.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Australia DWDWW
South Africa DWDWD

In the spotlight

South Africa's batsmen tried to belt Nathan Lyon out of the attack at the Gabba but he kept his nerve, continued to flight the ball and picked up two wickets in each innings, as well as having a skied catch put down off his bowling. A 25-over spell on the third day helped Lyon get back into his rhythm after some undemanding Sheffield Shield work in the lead-up, and at his home venue of Adelaide Oval, where he took five wickets against India last summer, he will be a key man as the pitch deteriorates. With Shane Watson unable to bowl even if he does play, Lyon will again be asked to bowl some long spells to give the fast men some rest.

Vernon Philander had so much success in his first ten Test matches that it was a major surprise that he went wicketless at the Gabba, having also failed to claim a victim the tour match in Sydney. At times in Brisbane the Australians found it a little too easy to leave Philander's deliveries alone and on a pitch like Adelaide, which won't offer the bowlers much apart from perhaps some variable bounce as the game wears on, he will need to make the batsmen play more often.

Team news

Australia are unchanged from Brisbane, with Shane Watson's bid to play as a batsman ending predictably on match eve. Ben Hilfenhaus retains his spot ahead of Mitchell Starc, and Rob Quiney has another Test to prove himself at No. 3.

Australia 1 Ed Cowan, 2 David Warner, 3 Rob Quiney, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 James Pattinson, 10 Ben Hilfenhaus, 11 Nathan Lyon.

JP Duminy's injury meant South Africa had to make at least one change from the Gabba side and it has been confirmed that Faf du Plessis will make his debut in Adelaide. Imran Tahir has also been named and will replace Rory Kleinveldt in the starting XI.

South Africa 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers (wk), 6 Jacques Rudolph, 7 Faf du Plessis, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Imran Tahir.

Pitch and conditions

Like the Gabba, the Adelaide Oval surface should provide plenty of runs early in the match, but it is also likely to deteriorate as the game wears on, which will bring the spinners into play. The forecast for the duration of the match is hot and sunny.

Stats and trivia

  • The Gabba match was the first draw between these two sides in 14 Tests, the previous one having come at the WACA in December 2005. The teams haven't drawn two consecutive Tests since 1921
  • Michael Hussey is in line to play his 75th consecutive Test since his debut in November 2005, but AB de Villiers is in the midst of an even better run and should step out for his 79th consecutive Test since his debut in 2004
  • The only member of South Africa's side who has played Test cricket at Adelaide Oval is Jacques Kallis, who in two matches there has scored 15, 15, 5 and 65 not out
  • Ricky Ponting has scored more runs at Adelaide Oval than any other Test venue, 1723 at an average of 63.81


"I think the players can take confidence from the way we performed and improved in that Test match, but it doesn't guarantee much. Like words, it doesn't really matter what you say it's what you do and we need to have that attitude and make sure come tomorrow we're 100% ready for that first delivery whether we're batting or bowling."
Michael Clarke

"The changeroom attendant said the one thing you can expect is the same Adelaide wicket. It will probably get drier as the game goes on. It's got a good grass covering. The field is looking really good. The square is probably the greenest I have seen it in a long time."
Graeme Smith

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by C.A-SA1987 on (November 21, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

@ Posted by Sowmi Rajamani on (November 21 2012, 19:58 PM GMT)

Couldn't agree more. As Saffers, we are extremely weary of Clarke. I remember his debut ton in India. Have been following him since. He has an intense sense of positiveness abut him, even when he is defending - his loud and clear shout of "NO!" is demoralising for us as opposition. Such a clean and beautiful technique. Little wonder he is scoring runs for fun. If we get him, then anything can happen... even 47 all out:-)

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (November 21, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

If South Africa can keep 11 players for the duration, they will win the adelaide test, just like England did in 2010

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 21, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

Not sure about Faf, and Tahir might be a bit easy to get away - who knows? But Australia made the biggest blunder of all by the non-selection of Starc. You would think, in Adelaide, that you need extra bowlers, and they could have gone in with 5 bowlers, dropping Quiney. The good old adage of don't change a winning team seems to have worked in Quiney's favour here. This is reminiscent of the 2010 Ashes when they refused to play Bollinger. Starc, it seems, is the new Bollinger - destined never to play test cricket again, and, if he dares complain, he might never play international cricket again - in spite of being the best bowler in the country. Very sad.

Posted by Nerk on (November 21, 2012, 22:37 GMT)

Form counts for little in matches such as this. There are eleven players on each team that, on their day, could change the course of a match completely. It depends on who comes out firing on all cylinders, who takes the half chances and quite frankly, a lot of it will depend on which team lady luck chooses to smile on.

Posted by Vishnu27 on (November 21, 2012, 21:35 GMT)

Front-Foot-Lunge would do extremely well to worry about England's socalled "pace" outfit (as you really can't call it an "attack", because it simply isn't attacking anything). Completely & utterly outbowled & out thought at Ahmedabad. England's "pace" bowlers were bereft of ideas & not a hint of pace displayed anywhere at any stage. The very pedestrian Zaheer showed up all the England "pace" bowlers for heat (scary concept). As much as you would love to see Mitch, FFL, you'll really have to get down to the WACA to do it when the Warriors are playing. As it won't be in a baggygreen any time soon.

Posted by Moppa on (November 21, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

Yes, @SurlyCynic, lots of chat from the Australian camp. Listen to the captain: "I think the players can take confidence from the way we performed and improved in that Test match, but it doesn't guarantee much". And this from Mike Hussey: "I don't really like to think we take any momentum coming out of Brisbane. I think we start nil-all again, and the first session is very important". Amazing arrogance! Typical of the Australian cricket team.

Posted by Wozza-CY on (November 21, 2012, 20:26 GMT)

The Sth African attack looks far better balanced with Tahir on board. du Plessis also adds to the team with his batting & leggies. Having two wrist spinners in the team could prove valuable into day 4 & 5 at Adelaide. The Ozi top three will have to stand up and score some runs collectively to take the pressure off the midle order & ensure a big total.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

Aus is walking on this fine line between 47 all out and 500 for 4, the line being defined by Clarke's dismissal. Lets see how long Clarke can keep scoring like he has from "peanuts for 3" situations.

Posted by Beertjie on (November 21, 2012, 19:42 GMT)

SA haven't produced spinners? Hugh Tayfield (37 tests 170 wickets); Tufty Mann, Atholl Rowan? But the omission of Starc upsets me, like many other posters because it limits Lyon's opportunities. Shootout between Warner and Quiney for one position.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

Warner is a fast track bully doesn't do well overseas. Ideally I would prefer to see Kawaja.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

Even as an Australian I feel Watson is a bit too overrated and in my mind is a specialist limited overs player. But whether he plays or not Australia just like I have predicted before this series will win it and regain the number 1 ranking. I just hope Ricky Ponting achieves another 100 so he can break you know who record can't wait.

Posted by Haleos on (November 21, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa - Indian conditions are not condusive to fast bowling still we produce good enough fast bowlers. Pakistan has similar conditions and produces Fast bowlers like rabbits breeding. Do you gt the point?

Posted by 158notout on (November 21, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

Australia shaping up better? Do me a favour - a top three of Cowan, Warner and Quiney/Marsh/Khawaja/Hughes/ anyone else is just giving the opposition 3 wickets. OK, Cowan scored at the Gabba but one innings does not a Test batsman make.

Posted by riprock on (November 21, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

I reckon.. Warner, Punter and Lyon are the one's who're under fire to perform more than the others!! Quiney needs to make the most of his opportunity..while Cowan will look to cement his place permanently.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 21, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

Please let Mitch play! He bowls to the left, he bowls to the riigghhhttt....... (Bring on the Aussie Ashes nightmares!).

Posted by Charlie101 on (November 21, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

@bigwonder we had the wettest summer on record in Britain and there was very little the grounds men could do to prepare pitches . I agree with your other comments that you are a stronger side than the Aussies .

Posted by hst84 on (November 21, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

game is on guys..both teams have a point to prove and the real mettle will be seen in this test match..Just for starters, Aus chances are slim compared to SA @sawifan: Tahir will show his true game in this Test match leave alone the history..

Posted by Nuxxy on (November 21, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

@Haleos: India don't use 'imports' because no one immigrates there. But you can't for a second tell me they would have choosen Sreesanth over Dale Steyn if he had moved there? England has one good spinner in Swann. Australia, currently, have none. They have decent spinners, not good. SA also has decent spinners. But they don't make the SA team because there are better pacemen around. You don't choose spin 'just because'. You use the best bowlers to take 20 wickets.

Quite frankly, Tahir has yet to live up to the hype. I love me a legspinner, but an avg over 40 gives him a worse record than Paul Harris and Robin Petersen. If he doesn't perform soon I would rather see Aaron Phangiso (on form) or Prenelan Subrayen (on potential). Tahir has the skills, but seems to lack the focus and patience.

Posted by sawifan on (November 21, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

Tahir to have little effect. The AUS batsmen may be a bit suspect to spin on the sub-continent (which non-sub-continent team isn't), but team AUS has a history of chewing up 'great' foreign spinners on AUS pitches (with the occasional anomaly). Tahir make grab the odd wicket, but it'll cost him for sure.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 21, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

Posted by Hammond on (November 21 2012, 12:11 PM GMT) Must say that Philander is living up to my expectations of him, a medium paced trundler, a Hilfenhaus lite.

47 All out

Enough said.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 21, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

having said that you never know the flowers boys could play a blinder. i hope its a great and very close test match like jo burg last year with the same result.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 21, 2012, 14:33 GMT)


I couldnt agree more with your statement. The sheer arrogance is mind blowing. A little reality check is just around the corner.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 21, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

i just think in terms of every indicator, australia are going to have to play poorly to lose this test match.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 21, 2012, 14:30 GMT)

SA has finally fielded its best possible team from the current test squad (bar injury to JP) and with all this Tahir talk, its quite obvious the ozzie pundits are a little concerned that Lyons orthodox pies he chucks wont quite be as effective as Tahirs legspin. All SA batsmen played him with ease. Cant wait for the 2nd test to start, we played badly and still drew with 10 men. Ozzies batted out of thier skins just for a draw result. Our bowlers will be pumped - Bring it on!!

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

@ Hammond: quoting..."Philander is living up to my expectations of him, a medium paced trundler, a Hilfenhaus lite" The guy has 1 bad test match and you sprout this? Earlier this year he became the 2nd fastest EVER to 50 test wickets. Do you think that's just a bit of luck? How many wickets has Hilfenhaus taken this year?

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 21, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

@ Haleos on (November 21 2012, 13:44 PM GMT) @ Nuxxy - India do not use imports and am sure will never use any. My point stands that SA are not even able to produce a quality spinner of their own. Australia have atleast few good spinners and England have swann.

Haleos, please enlighten me, who are currently Australias good spinners??? And please dont reference previous players, we are not living in the past. SA pitches and climate / conditions are not condusive to spin, hence SA hasnt produced any in its history. You would think this is common logic....

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

@Haleos: Is that really all you could take out of this entire match assessment?

Posted by bigwonder on (November 21, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

@Marcio, you are correct. Australia is definitely not in SA's league. Look at pitches for the 1st and now 2nd test. Perhaps "fat track bullies" titles should now be awarded to Australians? It appears that Australian grounds men are trying to do the same as England's ground men tried earlier - negate any advantage for SA bowlers. Most of the SA batmen are solid, their fielding is still better then Australians and I know their bowlers will come back hard in 2nd test. Watch out Clarke.

Posted by Haleos on (November 21, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

@ Nuxxy - India do not use imports and am sure will never use any. My point stands that SA are not even able to produce a quality spinner of their own. Australia have atleast few good spinners and England have swann.

Posted by CricketMaan on (November 21, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Adelaide is the flatest of all! the last test saw Oz bulldoz Indians with twin 200s..what this time? Can we see a 300, its been a while!!

Posted by heathrf1974 on (November 21, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

Lyon and Tahir will play big roles in this match. Hopefully Hilfenhaus can improve. This is the one the Aussies will want to win. They should have the superior spinner.

Posted by mthi4life on (November 21, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Who ever wins the toss will win the test match.The proteas where poor,playing with ten men and they pulled off a comfortable draw.This match will be determined mostly by the spinners from both sides.My the No.1 ranked team win.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

@Shamil Abrahams Yes they lost a man. An important talented batsman too but it wasn't a comfortable draw. yes they made it with 4 wickets to spare but 5/166 isn't comfortable. There runrate was low too. It wasn't a comfortable draw. It's going to be close though ( I go for Aus but SA are not to be underestimated)...

Posted by redneck on (November 21, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

starc should be in!!! if hilfey couldnt perform in brisbane he sure as hell wont do it in adelaide. happy they havent rushed watson back!!!! yes his batting is good enough to be selected on that alone, but his ability to be a 4th quick is going to be needed in india. no point letting him hobble along all summer as a batsman only to break down (which he will). better he rest up and return as the all rounder.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

Lets see how australia plays the leg spinner imran tahir, if they cannot handle spin and lose the odd wicket, the SA pace will have good pressure on the aussie batsmen. should be a good game of Test cricket

Posted by landl47 on (November 21, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

Didn't get to see the first match, so I'm looking forward to this one. Clarke goes from strength to strength as a captain and as a player. The forecast is good for this game, so batting first is the way to go. If either side can pile up a big lead in the first innings, they should win. Otherwise, a high-scoring draw looks likely. Great to see good cricket from two good sides on pitches which favour both equally..

Posted by Hammond on (November 21, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

Must say that Philander is living up to my expectations of him, a medium paced trundler, a Hilfenhaus lite.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 21, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

My call is a high scoring draw with the decider in Perth unless SA attack are able to make some inroads in to the Aus batting. Kirsten went home to be with the family between tests - surely this needs an explanation. You cant have guys (least of all the coach) fly home during a series.

Posted by Marcio on (November 21, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

At least there are less of those "Australia is not in SA's league" posts after the first test, mostly from disgruntled Indians and a few Englishmen. Those cries quietened into "They doctored the pitch!" Whatever. Looking forward to this game, making no predictions.

Posted by Marcio on (November 21, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

@SurlyCynic, very surly indeed. "All this Aussie chat" here? What other purpose do you think the comments section has, but to chat? LOL. And I see little or no evidence of cocky posting, if that's what you mean. Posters should back their team. It's only natural. This should be an interesting test. SA will need to get on top early. If AUS get the early advantage they may develop a psychological hold that SA will find hard to push back from. Perth will be the real interesting test, I feel. Hilfy will need to show more, or he'll get the boot for that game.

Posted by Abdurrazaaq on (November 21, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

Its a pity we lost JP, but I'm very happy with the changes, faf has to prove himself (even though his got the potential as a batsman) and can bowl some decent spinners. Tahir will provide the variation we needed in the last test match. Great test match on the cards, and I dont think we can pick a favourite!

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 21, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

I'm really surprised that Australia haven't selected Tony Stark for Adelaide, they need him if they're going to get SA out twice.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

The difference here unlike at the Gabba where the first 3 days with all the rain also helped keep that pitch very green and batting was rather tough on it, Day 4 was rather flat thereafter, I believe this pitch will be baron from start to finish so having two wrist spinners in our team may help the scenario. Saw Tahir turn the ball and get steep bounce at the Oval on a very dead track and that is the inherent danger a wrist spinner brings being able to turn the ball both ways. Hopefully Faf replicates FC performances to become a automatic down the order and bowl some, when Duminy comes back we can have plenty variation with bat and ball.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

Yes the Gabba was a closely contested match, which could have been batted out to be boring one by Saffa. Yes the Aussies played hard and came back really strongly...but is everybody forgetting that the Aussies only really played against 10 men. JP, who was picked as the main spin bowler at the Gabba and one of the in-form, middle order batsman, did not play. I am not one to speak before the time but i dont think it will be as easy this time around. If Saffa can pull off a comfortable draw with 10 men, im sure they can win this one

Posted by Hammond on (November 21, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

Australia will win this. The confidence is with them (I hate the word "momentum" in cricket). They will handle the bowling, and will remember how far they got into the saffers in the second innings. C'mon Aussie! I am liking Clarke more and more by the day.

Posted by Nuxxy on (November 21, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

@Haleos: Oh get off your high horse! Clarrie Grimmett was a New Zealander who moved to Oz at age 23. Circumstances for cricketers to play for other countries have existed for as long as cricket. In this case, Tahir married a South African woman and moved to her country.

South African's lack of a native spinner is the same as India's lack of pace bowlers...inherent to the conditions of the country. Certainly no local spinner has had the chance to learn under Qadir like Tahir has had.

Posted by crh8971 on (November 21, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

There were obviously two contentious selection issues for the Australian team: 1. Do you replace Hilfenhaus with Starc? This would have been a tough decision. Starc bowled reasonably well in his last Shield match and Hilfy was not so threatening at the GABBA. It would have been very tough to drop him though as he has taken 32 wickets at 20 in 7 tests this year. Starc would have been great for the foot marks outside the right hander's off stump though. 2. Does Watson play as a batsmen only? He has only played 9 tests over the course of 2011 & 2012. In these tests he has had 17 innings which have only produced 3 50's, no 100's and an average of 27. That does not make him an automatic selection as a top order batsmen in any era of Australian test cricket. He is also average in the field anywhere but slips.

Posted by Biggus on (November 21, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Well here we go again, set the scoreboard back to zero and let these two sides fight it out again. This will be most interesting, Adelaide being traditionally the flattest track in the country will test the mental abilities of both bowling attacks, you can't afford to be impatient or rash when bowling there, it's all about being patient and bowling to the plan, hopefully the correct one. A flat wicket and short square boundaries should give a hint as to what NOT to do. I expect the Saffers to come back hard at us as befits the #1 ranked team and hope we'll have a real treat of test cricket.

Posted by Haleos on (November 21, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

SA going the english way with using imports. Its one thing when you come to a country very young but completely different when you migrate to another (albiet in the name of love) when you are already a first class cricketer. It is such a sad state of affairs that country like SA can not produce a good spinner of their own.

Posted by Unomaas on (November 21, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

Its vital that we win the toss and bat first! It will be up to Kallis + Amla to make big runs again! If that happens, I'll back AB to make a quick fire hundred as well. If we loose the toss, I suspect a draw as the likely outcome with small chance of a win and more chance for a loss :(. I don't think Faf will succeed with the bat in this test. How Faf and Tahir bowls together will prove telling. Tahir has to be the secret weapon that wins us this game! Ponting and Tahir will be an interesting battle as well. If Ponting gets stuck in, Tahir will have to account for his wicket. Morkel has got to take care of Clarke! By the time Clarke steps to the wicket, the ball is old. I believe that Morkel is the only on that can extract something extra from the ball + wicket to force Clarke into a mis-shot or error. Philander needs to account for Hussey's wicket. The same way Philander bowled to Alistair Cook is the same way he should bowl to Hussey! Of course, Steyn will take care of the top 3 :P

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

A major surprise Vernon Philander didn't take a wicket at the Gabba? Not to anyone who follows Australian cricket. Conditions out here are alien to his kind of bowling.

Posted by yankinsa on (November 21, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

SA were definitely caught napping at the Gabba but with Kirsten and Smith steering matters, they won't be caught short this time. And neither will Steyn/Morkel/Philander. They didn't get their hign rankings with cheap results on "home" wickets and they know how to bowl. Tahir makes a major difference and so does du Plessis who not only adds batting but also fielding and an under rated bowling ability, especially at the tailend of the match. It's going to be hard fought - SA ARE the #1 side and not for nothing - but I kind of think a draw is on the cards if the pitch holds up reasonably well. SA may have come off 2nd best by the end of Gabba but I dont think either side has forgotten " 23 for 9" !!

Posted by sawifan on (November 21, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

how has Cowan 'proven' himself as an opener after just one ton, yet Warner remains ' slight concern' despite scoring 2 tons already (in only 3 more completed innings). I think they are still 'both' a concern. Let's not cement Cowan in after one innings on a flat deck. I'm a fan of both players, but neither have really proved much yet.

Posted by magpye on (November 21, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

Leaving Starc out was a mistake. What concerns me more is some of the undertones around Watson. There seems to be an air of negativity coming from the management that I don't understand. Watson would be the second player I'd pick in the Australian team and yet reading between the lines, he has dropped significantly in the pecking order of the selectors et al. It would be nice to know what they're thinking.

Posted by philvic on (November 21, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

hopefully Australia have used up all their luck in the Brisbane test and normal service by SA bowlers will resume in Adelaide.

Posted by crick3tlov3r on (November 21, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

gOOd LucK ... both of you ......i hope that there will be a result after that match

Posted by Chris_P on (November 21, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

What I don't get is if the selectors were always going to play Hilfy, why didn't they release Starc to play Sheffield Shield for NSW. He needs an extended run at first class level to fine tune him for Perth. Now what?

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 21, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

thought ben would get a rest and big mitch would come in that is surprising although ben with him new ball and reverse swing should profit in adelaide.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (November 21, 2012, 4:53 GMT)

Something is not right between Clarke and Watson, i can't fathem that we would pick Quiney who got the best 9 I have ever seen above Watto. For the selectors they may want to start getting some Queenslanders in the side as there is none in the team and they are number 1 on the shield table and defending champions.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 21, 2012, 4:53 GMT)

In Adelaide,the wicket will be like the usual heavy scoring ones. That way Australia can neutralise Steyn and co like they did in Brisbane. If Lyon and Clarke can manage to spin out the Saffas, then the pitch will really be queered.But it is also possible that Tahir will do the same and Australia will suffer. But my reading is that this match will be a draw. With big scores from Clarke and Amla.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

Everyone is putting advantage in Australia's court ! ! But, I think one below par display is not enough to write off a gritty team like SA ! ! My money still on Proteas ! !

Posted by Baysider on (November 21, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

Well Watson would be good for more than 100 runs across two innings. Let's see all of the preferred specialist batsmen achieve that.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (November 21, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

Leaving Starc out is quite crazy. Not only is he in fantastic bowling form, but is also the only left hand quickie. He may not be a workhorse like Hilfenhaus, but he is definitely going to present something different to both left handed batsmen as well as right handed ones with inswing over the wicket. And he is faster than Hilfenhaus. As for the "Watson saga", if he is fit to bat and run for long innings, they should've picked him. Warner/Cowan do not have proven history behind and in any case, Watson is the more accomplished of them all. He can be as destructive as Warner, is more comfortable against spin and in general, doesn't get out early. No one picked Ed Cowan / Quiney for their bowling, so why insist on Watto being an all rounder? My money on another boring draw, because i don't think saffers are going to fall for the same trick twice.

Posted by gzawilliam on (November 21, 2012, 1:59 GMT)

Well thats just a terrible decision by the selectors. Not picking watson was a given. He's not 100%. Not not including Mitchel Starc is just silly. Nathan Lyon must be sighing in disappointment with no leftie to create some rough for him to bowl into. And the fact Hilfenhaus looked like a club medium pace bowler in Brisbane. Now we go into this test with once again a 1 dimensional pace attack. All 3 fast bowlers too similar. We needed Starc's variety and height.

Posted by __PK on (November 21, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

Wow! Ponting has scored more than 17 times as many Test runs at Adelaide as the whole South African side put together! If this Test follows the trend, I predict an Australian victory by an innings and 6000 runs ;-)

Posted by MinusZero on (November 21, 2012, 1:38 GMT)

I am still waiting for Philander to find his best. Since that first series he hasnt done much. He was poor against england until the last test. I would have dumped Hilfenhaus. If he lacks impact again, he is gone for sure.

Posted by binojpeter on (November 21, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

Actually Starc should have played in place of Hilfenhaus. I believe that he is a better bowler and adds variety to the attack.

Posted by JoieDeVivre on (November 21, 2012, 1:17 GMT)

Jacques Rudolph surely doesn't merit a place, I mean at times you get the impression he is unsure of his role which is unlike Gary Kirsten. Faf du Plessis will surely be in playing eleven but if they can have AB relieved of his wicket keeping duties, SAF batting will be lot more potent. What will concern most SAF fans will be Vernon Philander's performance, understand this was a one off performance but if Aussies play him the way they played in Gabba it surely is a cause for concern, particularly his lack of pace. This Test match will probably give us an indication of how much he has learnt and is he going to be the same threat like he has been in his short career. Despite Aussies having an upper hand, it's still even stevens and I still think SAF have just enough to beat the Aussies, but it's going to be a cracker of a Test.

Posted by othello22 on (November 21, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

Australia unchanged? Interesting. Granted, Watson was never going to play, but I would have thought there was a strong case for Starc's inclusion here, not least because his footmarks would give Lyon some nice rough to bowl into days four and five. Hope Buildahouse throws down an improved performance to justify his selection here because he looked peculiarly unthreatening in Brisbane.

Posted by BG4cricket on (November 21, 2012, 0:45 GMT)

Adelaide is a pitch where a second spinning option often comes in handy. On this basis I think SA should go with Elgar who may not be quite as proficient with the bat as du Plessis but is a much better bowling option.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 21, 2012, 0:41 GMT)

If Starc doesn't play, the selectors should have to explain why the best bowler in the country isn't playing.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 21, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

It's been amazing seeing all the chat from the Aussie camp and the Aussie posters here - anyone would think Aus were up in the series after hammering SA, not merely drawing at home against a 10 man team. I really hope the pitches liven up a bit but from the description above it seems another Chief Executive's pitch is in prospect. Perhaps Aus don't want to give Steyn and Philander any movement to work with... or they're relying on Nathan 'Warney' Lyon to destroy SA.

Posted by Toreador on (November 20, 2012, 23:56 GMT)

They can show as much aggression to the opposite players as they want. Just don't get in the face of the umpires. As a diehard Australian fan I was embarrassed to witness Siddle's behaviour towards Aleem Dar. But the joke was Siddle as Aleem had a screamer of a day on Day 5. I hope Siddle made a personal apology to Dar at the end of the match.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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