South Africa in Australia 2012-13 October 30, 2012

Pacy Australian pitches enthuse Donald

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Allan Donald bowled in Australia during the age of Shane Warne. Thus, Test match wickets were straw-coloured and prone to wearing, fast bowlers treasured the few overs of conventional assistance offered by the new ball, and spinners twirled away less in hope than expectation.

More than a decade since he last visited Australia as a player, Donald has returned as South Africa's bowling coach to find that Australian Test pitches now offer bounce, pace and lateral movement in more generous quantities. Last summer, Australia's pacemen seldom resorted to searching for reverse swing because the traditional kind was more freely available, and pursued a fuller length to telling effect against India.

Mentoring a trio of fast men in Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander that he rates the best in South Africa's history, Donald chuckled at the surfaces they may get the chance to bowl on. Memories of Donald's heroic spells on far less helpful surfaces in Melbourne and Sydney in 1997-98 remain vivid for all those who saw them, and he can be forgiven for wishing he had been granted the chance to bowl on the sort of lively Gabba pitch expected to be unveiled next week.

"I've been hearing it's going to be fairly green in Brisbane. I've never played in Australia when the wickets were green, maybe that policy's changed a little bit," Donald said. "I know watching Australia against New Zealand the one factor that stands out at the Gabba is the bounce and carry. For me that's the only thing as a quick bowler that keeps you interested. Gone are the days when it's nice and flat and your spinners come into it, but we'll see.

"It looks like the wickets have got a bit bouncier than they used to be. The Gabba's a bit different, the SCG's usually a really good wicket to bat on, for a three-day game we don't know what to expect. But I think length is crucial. When you go to the Gabba, watching Australia play against New Zealand, the length is a little fuller than normal, so you haven't got too much time to adapt, but once the guys are up there I'm sure they'll adapt as quickly as possible."

Adaptation is the strong suit of a bowling attack that has in its various incarnations kept South Africa unbeaten away from home for more than six years. The most recent addition to the ensemble, Philander, has shown commendable maturity and perseverance in his methods, moving the ball a little either way at sharp enough pace to beat the best batsmen.

"It is just the telling lengths he bowls consistently, he never goes away, he locks you away as a batsman, you almost feel you've got to play at every delivery," Donald said. "If there's anything in the wicket that offers him a bit, then he becomes even more of a handful. Since 2007 when he was left out of the South African side he's gone away and learned his game, he's really become a tremendous bowler, and it's good for us to have him in the side.

"He's really motivated for this tour - this is as big as it gets."

The visit to Australia comes with the risk of losing the No.1 ranking should South Africa be defeated, but Donald's faith in his bowlers is clear. Despite having played alongside Shaun Pollock in one of the game's most feared pace duos in earlier years, Donald has had little hesitation labelling the current group the best he has seen.

"I would have to say that yes [this is the best South African attack], and I'm not just saying that, because I was part of an attack with Shaun Pollock and myself and a few others. I say this humbly and respectfully, I think this is as good as it gets," he said. "They've been bowling together for quite some time now, which is nice, so momentum's been built over the last couple of years, consistency in selection, and it's nice to have a group of guys that know what they're about. But still, the produce factor is always the key, and this is as big as it comes coming to Australia."

South African confidence has been underlined by their decision to choose only four pacemen on tour, when Australia are likely to have as many as five fast bowlers on hand at each Test. On the topic of whether there was any risk inherent in their strategy, Donald was unmoved.

"I don't think so," he said. "Rory's [Kleinveldt] been added to the squad, Rory deserves his place, he's nice and hard, he bowls 140 kph plus, so he's good back-up for anyone who's injured."

Given the sort of surface they should no see at the Gabba, Donald's feeling of assurance may be wisely placed.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on November 1, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    @Chris_P on (October 31 2012, 17:19 PM GMT) - point taken. I know when Donald was playing he often wished for Tests to be played at the WACA & Gabba & often pondered why they weren't played there. Apart from the Ashes, & when the WIndies were in full pomp, I think the Gabba has been ripped off by not having the Saffas or Indians (once in 20yrs) play here. Every year I used to drive 4 hours to the Gabba (about 20 yrs ago) & sleep in the back of my old (dearly departed) Gemini (never a great nights sleep). Basically use to spend most of the day in the bar under the Lions clubhouse. I think the Gabba now is a great viewing ground, but I find the Fun Police sort of spoil it now.

  • Chris_P on October 31, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    @Meety. re: The Gabba. As you know I been going to the Gabba tests for a long time. I am not sure CA avoided the Gabba for the Boks or not as the Gabba has traditionally been played in November or the first test of the season whereas the biggest crowds pullers are the MCG/SCG double for boxing day/New Year. Historicially, the lesser crowd pullers have toured for the first 3 tests (when 2 teams tour). So for the 3 tests (why only 3???) against the Boks, we have nearly always used the SCG/MCG & Adelaide trio, only Perth was altered last tour. (Maybe we avoided Perth before?). No doubt, 2 of the grounds to be served up will suit the Boks down to a tee.

  • itsthewayuplay on October 31, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    'Australia's pacemen seldom resorted to searching for reverse swing because the traditional kind was more freely available, and pursued a fuller length to telling effect against India'. The reason why they didn't have have to resort to reverse swing was because none the innings lasted long enough for the ball to reverse swing. Bouncy pacy pitches with lateral movement is what test matc cricket is all about. Take note in the subcontinent.

  • 2nd_Slip on October 31, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    Lets see mmmmhhh whos career will Smith % Co. slay this time around????..Michael Hussey mmmhhh...or maybe Ponting. Would be sad if it is the later bcoz he is one of my favourite batsmen of all time. Should be an interesting series...though i still foresee a comprehensive 2-0 to SA

  • Marktc on October 31, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    This is going to be a hard fought series. Neither side will back down or be intimidated so we can look forward to some good, hard cricket. Neither side can be counted out until the last run or wicket falls....this is epic cricket at it's best. The rivalry between the teams is legendary and it is only of late that SA have a good chance of winning in Oz (as they did before) Morkel is the weak link...if he is on song, he is brilliant...when he is off, he is terrible and will be torn to shreds. AB must not keep either. SA are the number one side but the Oz teams are scrappers and also play very good cricket. These two are probably the real best two in cricket..

  • Romanticstud on October 31, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Steyn, Morkel, Philander ... if Pollock, Donald, Ntini were bowling on the current Australian pitches ... they would be the best ... I would still rate Donald better than Steyn ... He bowled well in Australia with pitches made for Warne's spin. I would like to see Punter and his clan get runs off these bowlers and show the world that Australia are going through a transformation phase where they will be the speed Kings of the world ... Starc ... Hilfenhaus ... Cummins ... Siddle ... but then let the ball do the talking ... 2-1 Australia ...

  • Pappu_bhai on October 31, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    I believe Steyn will be the difference between teams.I already told in WC Steyn is as good as Balaji and if Balaji is not injured he would have a much better bowler than Steyn.In 20-20 WC Balaji proved that.Now its upto Steyn to prove he is also good.SO he will deliver or due to pressure he will fail again.If Steyn Proves as good as Balaji then SAF will win this series else there is no way to stop the Aussise.

  • Meety on October 31, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    @Biggus on (October 31 2012, 03:20 AM GMT) - re: Red&WhiteArmy - ironic given Finn lasted 4 overs on his tour of India & couldn't finish the last Ashes. Tremlett has been injured, Broad couldn't finish the last Ashes & pulled out of a tour of India & Swanny has a busted elbow! Glass Houses? As for your "new" definition of a Green Top - classic! You're on fire!

  • Meety on October 31, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    @Chris_P on (October 30 2012, 17:34 PM GMT) - well said, I would imagine that '69 Saffa line up would have to be the greatest. Pollock/Ntini/Donald as a comb have greater credentials, although I think Donald was coming to the end of his career when Ntini came along. So a lot depends on whether Phillander continues on, because I would say that Morkel is inferior to Ntini, Donald & Steyn a neck & neck & so its sort of down to Phillander v Pollock with the latter having the wickets on the Board over time. As for the 69/70 side - they just didn't play enuff games to really qualify. Interestingly - in looking up Pollocks record I came across a Saffer - Partridge, wasted life that was. @ sifter132 on (October 30 2012, 21:20 PM GMT) - I agree 100%! I dunno if WIndies sides of the late 90s would say that they weren't pace friendly (thinking of McGraths hat-trick at the WACA). Ambrose certainly always looked menacing! I think Oz deliberately avoided hosting the Saffas at the Gabba though!

  • on October 31, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Turn it up Donald. Its the same SAfrican bowling attack that they had at home this time last year and they were given greentops and they still couldnt win the series against us.

  • Meety on November 1, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    @Chris_P on (October 31 2012, 17:19 PM GMT) - point taken. I know when Donald was playing he often wished for Tests to be played at the WACA & Gabba & often pondered why they weren't played there. Apart from the Ashes, & when the WIndies were in full pomp, I think the Gabba has been ripped off by not having the Saffas or Indians (once in 20yrs) play here. Every year I used to drive 4 hours to the Gabba (about 20 yrs ago) & sleep in the back of my old (dearly departed) Gemini (never a great nights sleep). Basically use to spend most of the day in the bar under the Lions clubhouse. I think the Gabba now is a great viewing ground, but I find the Fun Police sort of spoil it now.

  • Chris_P on October 31, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    @Meety. re: The Gabba. As you know I been going to the Gabba tests for a long time. I am not sure CA avoided the Gabba for the Boks or not as the Gabba has traditionally been played in November or the first test of the season whereas the biggest crowds pullers are the MCG/SCG double for boxing day/New Year. Historicially, the lesser crowd pullers have toured for the first 3 tests (when 2 teams tour). So for the 3 tests (why only 3???) against the Boks, we have nearly always used the SCG/MCG & Adelaide trio, only Perth was altered last tour. (Maybe we avoided Perth before?). No doubt, 2 of the grounds to be served up will suit the Boks down to a tee.

  • itsthewayuplay on October 31, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    'Australia's pacemen seldom resorted to searching for reverse swing because the traditional kind was more freely available, and pursued a fuller length to telling effect against India'. The reason why they didn't have have to resort to reverse swing was because none the innings lasted long enough for the ball to reverse swing. Bouncy pacy pitches with lateral movement is what test matc cricket is all about. Take note in the subcontinent.

  • 2nd_Slip on October 31, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    Lets see mmmmhhh whos career will Smith % Co. slay this time around????..Michael Hussey mmmhhh...or maybe Ponting. Would be sad if it is the later bcoz he is one of my favourite batsmen of all time. Should be an interesting series...though i still foresee a comprehensive 2-0 to SA

  • Marktc on October 31, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    This is going to be a hard fought series. Neither side will back down or be intimidated so we can look forward to some good, hard cricket. Neither side can be counted out until the last run or wicket falls....this is epic cricket at it's best. The rivalry between the teams is legendary and it is only of late that SA have a good chance of winning in Oz (as they did before) Morkel is the weak link...if he is on song, he is brilliant...when he is off, he is terrible and will be torn to shreds. AB must not keep either. SA are the number one side but the Oz teams are scrappers and also play very good cricket. These two are probably the real best two in cricket..

  • Romanticstud on October 31, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Steyn, Morkel, Philander ... if Pollock, Donald, Ntini were bowling on the current Australian pitches ... they would be the best ... I would still rate Donald better than Steyn ... He bowled well in Australia with pitches made for Warne's spin. I would like to see Punter and his clan get runs off these bowlers and show the world that Australia are going through a transformation phase where they will be the speed Kings of the world ... Starc ... Hilfenhaus ... Cummins ... Siddle ... but then let the ball do the talking ... 2-1 Australia ...

  • Pappu_bhai on October 31, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    I believe Steyn will be the difference between teams.I already told in WC Steyn is as good as Balaji and if Balaji is not injured he would have a much better bowler than Steyn.In 20-20 WC Balaji proved that.Now its upto Steyn to prove he is also good.SO he will deliver or due to pressure he will fail again.If Steyn Proves as good as Balaji then SAF will win this series else there is no way to stop the Aussise.

  • Meety on October 31, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    @Biggus on (October 31 2012, 03:20 AM GMT) - re: Red&WhiteArmy - ironic given Finn lasted 4 overs on his tour of India & couldn't finish the last Ashes. Tremlett has been injured, Broad couldn't finish the last Ashes & pulled out of a tour of India & Swanny has a busted elbow! Glass Houses? As for your "new" definition of a Green Top - classic! You're on fire!

  • Meety on October 31, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    @Chris_P on (October 30 2012, 17:34 PM GMT) - well said, I would imagine that '69 Saffa line up would have to be the greatest. Pollock/Ntini/Donald as a comb have greater credentials, although I think Donald was coming to the end of his career when Ntini came along. So a lot depends on whether Phillander continues on, because I would say that Morkel is inferior to Ntini, Donald & Steyn a neck & neck & so its sort of down to Phillander v Pollock with the latter having the wickets on the Board over time. As for the 69/70 side - they just didn't play enuff games to really qualify. Interestingly - in looking up Pollocks record I came across a Saffer - Partridge, wasted life that was. @ sifter132 on (October 30 2012, 21:20 PM GMT) - I agree 100%! I dunno if WIndies sides of the late 90s would say that they weren't pace friendly (thinking of McGraths hat-trick at the WACA). Ambrose certainly always looked menacing! I think Oz deliberately avoided hosting the Saffas at the Gabba though!

  • on October 31, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Turn it up Donald. Its the same SAfrican bowling attack that they had at home this time last year and they were given greentops and they still couldnt win the series against us.

  • anver777 on October 31, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    "Lightning Donald" would have been a killer bowler on these pitches on his playing days !!! But now he's on a different role & can share his past experiences with the team & bring SA team on top in this series !!!!!

  • Tony4SA on October 31, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    That is not to mention Vernon's handy contributions with the bat, averaging 25 in first class games and 19 in tests...

  • Tony4SA on October 31, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    @Marcio: FYI, re Philander's first class bowling performance, Cricinfo provides the following stats: 89 matches; 355 wickets; average 19.50 (not 27); econ 2.61; SR 44.6. Those are pretty impressive stats if you ask me, although not quite as impressive as his Test stats at the moment. I would not go so far as to say that he is unproven. He has proved himself over many years on the domestic scene and he has now transferred that sustained good performance into the Test arena. Even if he does not take five wicket hauls in Aus, he will still be a very important cog in the SA bowling attack by keeping up the pressure at one end.

  • Biggus on October 31, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    @sifter132-Couldn't agree more mate. Bellerive is about the only place in OZ where you'd get a real greentop, or Brisbane if the weather's been an issue, but since the Indians who post here (and current Indian players) have now, in defiance of over a hundred years of common cricketing terminology, redefined a greentop as any pitch that has grass on it, as opposed to rolled mud, then I guess every pitch in Australia at all levels of competition is a greentop now. The alternative, of having no grass on a pitch and having it break up on the third day and having unpredictable bounce from there on is of course undesireable, so I guess we'll just have to keep making 'greentops', as they would have it. What a reprehensible bunch of colonials we are for not wishing to see tests decided by balls that pitch on a good length and run along the ground! We had that problem in the 1980s when the MCG strip was in an awful state as a consequence of off season footy games which led to drop in pitches.

  • Biggus on October 31, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    @noimagination-Pattinson was the find of last summer test-wise for us and should ask a few questions of your batsmen. He's a tall, 140ish kmh right hander who moves it away nicely from the right handers. He's also a little aggressive and inclined to get chatty with the opposition which is something I'd like him to keep in check since I'd like the focus to be on the cricket instead of any acrimonious incidents that might occur. I know many of my countrymen would disagree with me about verbals and all that but I'm just a traditional old fart who finds it a bit of a pain when it gets out of hand. Although I stated the line up wil probably be Starc, Pattinson and Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus could consider himself unlucky if not selected as he's improved a lot since his underwhelming performance in the last Ashes down here.@RednWhiteArmy-Thank you for your kind thoughts. You can't imagine how much your support means to us, especially when your own English team has so many worries.

  • Marcio on October 31, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    SA certainly deserve the favourites tag for this series. But I wonder if there is a danger of over-hyping the team. Steyne, Morkel & Philander have bowled very well as a team. But of the 3 only Steyn is "great" as an individual. Morkel can be exceptional on his day, but can also be inconsistent, as reflected in a bowling avg of 30 - which is only fair, worse than all the AUS quicks. Philander just hasn't played enough games to be assessed properly (ALL his games have been on seamer-friendly pitches), & his 1st class avg of 27 is decent. In AUS conditions he will rely on his partners to dominate while he scraps for wickets while bowling line & length. I wonder what his bowling average would be if he'd played his first 10 games in the sub-continent, UAE and AUS. Probably much closer to 40 than 20, I'd suspect. Finally, if my counting is right, there have been 8 internationals between AUS and SA in the past year in all, all played outside of AUS. AUS won 5, SA 3. Just food for thought.

  • Alexk400 on October 31, 2012, 2:04 GMT

    Tough to predict this series

  • on October 31, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    I can't see Warner and Cowan doing well against Steyn and Philander. Warner gets cramped easily and world-class bowlers will know what to avoid and stay away from those areas. Cowan simply isn't good enough at all, he can't even score well against India except in one innings when Warner set the cat among the pigeons but I can't see Warner softening Steyn up for him

  • Bonehead_maz on October 30, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    Good thing that Alan never saw Hiene, Adcock, Goddard and Tayfield attack. Not only better but WAY more terrifying. Must say though that Alan Donald is easily best South African fast bowler since readmission - unlike Steyn he never hid from assault !

  • RednWhiteArmy on October 30, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    Warners career will be in tatters after this series. Watson will break down. Ponting will be dropped & the fragile aussie fast bowlers will be punished. what a series!

  • Beertjie on October 30, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    One idea I want to float. Since Oz's openers are not expected to last and in the light of Pup's brilliant 151 last year on that seaming Newlands deck, he should move up the order to play the anchor role. But the opening positions are a genuine headache. The Saffers will have our guys for breakfast, so someone needs to put his hand up soon.

  • NLI14 on October 30, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    @Biggus ... haha ok brilliant, very keen to see how he'll fare, especially considering what happened last time SA batsmen played against a left-arm seamer in Oz. Pattinson is the only one of your seamers I haven't seen much of...haha should i be scared ?? Ahh i dono...jury's out on Tahir. He's been taking a few wickets at first class level but he tends to be expensive. He's lucky to be getting such an extended run in the side...its due mainly to the fact that steyn morkel and philander have been in such good form. Who knows...maybe the selectors faith will pay off soon...let's just hope their faith doesn't backfire like it did with Levi

  • sifter132 on October 30, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    I think the author has been listening to Virat Kohli too much. Do Aussie pitches really offer "bounce, pace and lateral movement in more generous quantities" now?? Were pitches really "straw-coloured and prone to wearing" during the Donald/Warne era? I argue no. Problem for Donald is that he played ALL of his Tests at Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne - the least green pitches in Aus, and the ones that promote spin more. THAT'S the story here - SA coming early means they get to play at Brisbane and Perth, the pitches preferred by pacemen. It's got nothing to do with bias in the pitch preparation.

  • MrPud on October 30, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    This series will showcase Test cricket at its best. A very good attack in South Africa against a young and rapidly improving attack. The extra bounce may bring Tahir into the game. AB MUST NOT keep as his batting is vital. Just think the Saffa's top six is better and can outscore the Aussies consistently. Beware, Ponting is rested, refreshed and started the season in really good form.

  • Hardy1 on October 30, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    What a series this should be, although again, why is it 3 and not 5 tests. Just as with the England-SA series (although based on SA's dominance there maybe it's best it wasn't) this is a shame. Here's hoping Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Starc, Pattinson and Cummins provide more fight than the England attack. If the pitches are going to be green tops as stated, I'd be tempted to go in with four pacemen if I was Michael Clarke, as all five of their premier fast bowlers have been in great form of late.

  • Ronaldus on October 30, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    Yes, surely this is as good as it gets. So encouraging not to see egos getting in the way with Allan Donald setting the example by professing that this fast bowling attack of the Saffers is the best yet. I'd like to hear Atherton on that!! Also great to see the comments made by one and all; it looks like cricket is going to be the winner.

  • Biggus on October 30, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    @maddinson-I'm worried a bit about our openers. Warner, for all his biffing ability could find the Saffers attack a challenge he might struggle with, and Cowan, who I happen to like a lot for his patience and application is maybe not quite of test standard, at least against a potent attack. History has tended to suggest that if you can knock an opener over early we may have troubles. No predictions from me except that it will be entertaining.

  • Ozzy505 on October 30, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    I honestly think Aus should win this series, but SA have developed a habit of playing really well away from home. Clarke's positive captaincy coupled with young fast bowlers who want to put down a marker should, however prove to be the deciding factor to tilt things in our favour... or so I hope.

  • Biggus on October 30, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    @noimagination-You can pencil Starc in mate. In fact you can use a big fat pen. He will play if fit for sure, plus Siddle and Pattinson. He's improved out of sight in the last couple of years and must be one of the best young quicks world wide. The last spot will likely either go to Lyon or one of our other quicks if they go all pace. Agree about AB de V, he has enough on his plate already. How's Tahir coming along? I've only seen snippets of his work.@Chris_P-Modesty befits the man, one of the finest quicks I've seen, it's the third quick that makes the difference instead of say, McMillan or Klusener, but you're correct, Donald/Pollock and Procter/Pollock were pretty handy too.

  • Vikramaditya100 on October 30, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    Would rather watch this series than the India England one.... and a pity tht its only 3 tests... (wen last summer India got 4 despite, well playing the way they did).....

  • Chris_P on October 30, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    There you are, Front-Foot-Lunge . I didn't see you post during the last series in England. Cannot imagine why?

  • Chris_P on October 30, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    I think, Allan, you do yourself a great disservice. When you & Pollock shared the new ball, that was a great combination & far ahead of the present day crop. Perhaps you also need to look back in history when Peter Pollock & Proctor shared the new ball. They were devastationg. But talkng it up before a series is a good way of firing the first salvo of what is looming to be a great series. I only wish it were over 5 tests.

  • tinkertinker on October 30, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    I think the aussies have a better chance with some juice in the deck, since 1997 SA have given the aussies juicy green pitches everything they toured(mostly to try and stop warne) the aussies smashed them winning in 1997 2002 2006 2009 and drew last time.

    SA actually played better in 2008 in aus when the pitches were flatter.

  • maddinson on October 30, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    Even Australia after the retirement of Haydos, Gilly, McWarnie and Martyn won the test series in SAFA's backyard which mighty England unable to do with their golden generation.

  • NLI14 on October 30, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    @Biggus...so keen!! love playing Oz...hope Starc gets a spot in the starting XI. Been so impressed with him. And de villiers musn't keep, we need our batsmen at their best against this Australian bowling attack. Going to be a mad series!

  • Percy_Fender on October 30, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    I wish comment writers on both sides just hold their views. Australia is playing at home and have a decent side with good fast bowlers. But South Africa are the No 1 side in the ICC rankings.They too are very good with, as the White Lightning says their best ever bowling line up. It should be a wonderful series. So let us all wait for that to happen and may the better team win.When England thrashed Australia in the last Ashes series, the wickets were not like what they were last year. There were big scores by England then. I am not sure if the Australian batting can do that against the present South African bowling. But then Australia have the bowling which they did not have in the Ashes series. I feel in most of the games, the scores will be around 300 or thereabouts. Such scores make Test matches thrillers. And that is what all the three matches will be. Let us just wait for the first one at the Gabba.

  • Biggus on October 30, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    @Saffacricket-Could be tight. On paper your's is the stronger team but we're at home. I won't be betting the house on it mate, but it should be something to watch indeed.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 30, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge- You can get your bitter excuses ready when Aus trump SA in the series to claim their NO.1 spot(More than a fair chance even though SA are an excellent side themselves considering relative merits and home advantage for a rapidly improving side) with yet another 'prediction' gone awry. Considering your 'strike-rate' is about close to 0 and just better than your 'mighty' Eng, better try ur luck with ur own team -maybe they get a bit lucky and win a game or 2....(not that it has worked thus far really..) Pls publish.

  • Saffacricket on October 30, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    @Bigggus. Thank you kindly. I am looking forward to this series possibly more than the England one (if you take the No Spot out of the equation). It should be a fascinating bowling contest, and I am really looking forward to seeing how your youngsters shape. Any fellow Saffers who shoot their mouths off about victory are stupid - this is serious competition, and I am licking my lips at some fantastic cricket. May the best team win. Game on.

  • hnlns on October 30, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Coming from a champion fast bowler like Donald, the expectations of a very good performance from SA fast bowlers in Brisbane is very much on. That will only help them grab the early advantage if they are to go up 1-0 at the Gabba. Aussies though have their own fire power in Cummins, Starc, and Co. It should be a pretty interesting battle at the Gabba.

  • landl47 on October 30, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    These are two well-matched seam attacks, with SA having a slight advantage because Steyn is the best bowler on either side. Neither side has a match-winning spinner (at least on these wickets) so the seamers will be the key. It should be a great battle.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 30, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    Hear that? It's the sound of Australian underpants being changed furiously. A whitewash an yet another humiliation in Australia's own backyard is on the cards. And not by England this time, a team so famous in recent years for besting them time and again, it's South Africa. And they're hungry. Australian fans - start getting your excuses ready now.

  • SICHO on October 30, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    I agree with Donald, this our best attack. Why? Simple, we had the Donald-Pollock and the Pollock-Ntini partnerships but we somehow lacked the "quality" 3rd fast bowler which meant we also had to rely on all-rounders to do part of the job. So this is the best attack because it is complete IMO.

  • grizzle on October 30, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    Great to hear that Aussie pitches are back to their pacy best! Makes this series an even more mouth-watering prospect!

  • Biggus on October 30, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Welcome to Australia Saffers! This should be a really good series and it's a pleasure to have you here. Let the fun commence.

  • Pablo123 on October 30, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Agree with Donald, this is an awesome trio, well backed up by other good bowlers - although he and Pollock were an unbelievable duo. Between them, they brought as much fear as these three new blokes.

  • on October 30, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    I would rather go with Rorry, along side the tried and tested triumvirate of Steyn, Morkel, Philander, with Tahir standing out at GABA particularly.

  • Simoc on October 30, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    This South African side will be to strong for Oz. While our quicks are good stock bowlers they're not in the Steyn or Philander class, though hopefully Starc will get there. I expect them to win in Brisbane and Perth.

  • CricketMaan on October 30, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Finally a TEST for batsmen rated very highly in world cricket. one day Dale, Morne, Phil probing against Ricky, Clarke, Huss and Watto while the next its Siddle, Patto, Hilfy or Starc testing Smith, Amla, Kallis and AB. This is deftly as good as it gets. I can't think of any other Tests in the recent past that boasted of 6 best fast bowlers in business and I do include the recently concluded SA-Eng for there was only 1 team that bowled well. I will be watching this series over Ind-Eng. Good Luck.

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  • CricketMaan on October 30, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Finally a TEST for batsmen rated very highly in world cricket. one day Dale, Morne, Phil probing against Ricky, Clarke, Huss and Watto while the next its Siddle, Patto, Hilfy or Starc testing Smith, Amla, Kallis and AB. This is deftly as good as it gets. I can't think of any other Tests in the recent past that boasted of 6 best fast bowlers in business and I do include the recently concluded SA-Eng for there was only 1 team that bowled well. I will be watching this series over Ind-Eng. Good Luck.

  • Simoc on October 30, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    This South African side will be to strong for Oz. While our quicks are good stock bowlers they're not in the Steyn or Philander class, though hopefully Starc will get there. I expect them to win in Brisbane and Perth.

  • on October 30, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    I would rather go with Rorry, along side the tried and tested triumvirate of Steyn, Morkel, Philander, with Tahir standing out at GABA particularly.

  • Pablo123 on October 30, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Agree with Donald, this is an awesome trio, well backed up by other good bowlers - although he and Pollock were an unbelievable duo. Between them, they brought as much fear as these three new blokes.

  • Biggus on October 30, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Welcome to Australia Saffers! This should be a really good series and it's a pleasure to have you here. Let the fun commence.

  • grizzle on October 30, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    Great to hear that Aussie pitches are back to their pacy best! Makes this series an even more mouth-watering prospect!

  • SICHO on October 30, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    I agree with Donald, this our best attack. Why? Simple, we had the Donald-Pollock and the Pollock-Ntini partnerships but we somehow lacked the "quality" 3rd fast bowler which meant we also had to rely on all-rounders to do part of the job. So this is the best attack because it is complete IMO.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 30, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    Hear that? It's the sound of Australian underpants being changed furiously. A whitewash an yet another humiliation in Australia's own backyard is on the cards. And not by England this time, a team so famous in recent years for besting them time and again, it's South Africa. And they're hungry. Australian fans - start getting your excuses ready now.

  • landl47 on October 30, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    These are two well-matched seam attacks, with SA having a slight advantage because Steyn is the best bowler on either side. Neither side has a match-winning spinner (at least on these wickets) so the seamers will be the key. It should be a great battle.

  • hnlns on October 30, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Coming from a champion fast bowler like Donald, the expectations of a very good performance from SA fast bowlers in Brisbane is very much on. That will only help them grab the early advantage if they are to go up 1-0 at the Gabba. Aussies though have their own fire power in Cummins, Starc, and Co. It should be a pretty interesting battle at the Gabba.