Australia v South Africa, first Test, Brisbane

Little mystery, much anticipation

Daniel Brettig

November 8, 2012

Comments: 84 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

November 9-13, the Gabba
Start time 1000 (0000 GMT)

Big Picture

AB de Villiers tosses the ball during practice, Brisbane, November 7, 2012
Can AB de Villiers prove his batting powers will be unaffected by a longer term role as wicketkeeper? © Getty Images
Related Links

So Australia has a dossier on the South Africa team. So what? One of the trends of 21st century international cricket is that battles between nations now contain so few elements of the unknown. It should not be forgotten that these two sides played each other over a pair of uproarious Test matches only a year ago in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the series shared 1-1. Between then and now Australian and South African players have shared dressing rooms at the IPL and the Champions League, opposed each other again at the World Twenty20 and tried to prepare as best they can for a Test series with only one warm-up fixture in most cases.

But the lack of secrets to be divulged ahead of the first Test does not detract from the prospect of another meeting between two teams to have produced some of the most memorable Test encounters of recent times. South Africa's first visit to the Gabba in 49 years offers the prospect of plenty that is hair-raising, mainly for batsmen up against six of the world's best fast bowlers, but spectators too. Graeme Smith's side is settled and well grooved, their XI set in near enough to stone from the moment their plane touched down in Sydney last week. Smith himself is fired by the desire to ensure South Africa's hold on the ICC's top spot is not as fleeting this time around as it had been in 2009.

Australia, meanwhile, seek further proof of their rejuvenation. The Test team has not played together since April, and they may be forgiven for blinking just as much as the rest of the world at the fact they have the chance to unseat South Africa from their perch atop the rankings. The fact they have a chance of doing so is the best indicator of how far the team has developed under Michael Clarke's captaincy since the 2011 tour of Sri Lanka, as over that period the team has won three series, drawn two and shown the importance of incisive bowling to cover for a top six that on paper cannot match South Africa's. Line these two sides up and the visitors look to have a clear advantage. But contests between these teams have never been decided that way.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Australia WDWWW
South Africa WDWDW

In the spotlight

Called on to take the gloves in unfortunate circumstances in England, AB de Villiers' back grew stiffer with each match, and his batting contributions were handy rather than dominant. He has had more time to rest and prepare for taking the gloves in this series, and will be eager to prove that as wicketkeeper he can still make the kinds of scores that marked him as one of the world's best and most dangerous batsmen.

David Warner has escaped much of the scrutiny attached to his opening partner Ed Cowan, but with only one half century in his past eight innings needs to prove his hyper aggressive methods can work consistently at Test level. West Indies and England both did well against Warner earlier this year by pursuing a rigid line and length angled across him towards the slips, while the opener's tendency to get involved in verbal confrontations will also have been noted by South Africa. Shane Watson's injury leaves Warner the most senior batsman in the Australian top three.

Team news

Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon are duelling for two spots. Hilfenhaus led the attack with Peter Siddle last year but has only played one first-class match since April. Starc has been a dominant Twenty20 bowler but is still coming to grips with the red ball. Lyon has few wickets behind him entering the Test and forecast Gabba rain may keep the pitch fresh and the pace bowlers dangerous throughout. Ricky Ponting has shrugged off a hamstring niggle.

Australia (possible): 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/Mitchell Starc, 11 Nathan Lyon.

South Africa's team is settled, and likely to be unchanged from the XI that defeated England at Lord's to take the series and top spot on the ICC's rankings.

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

Pitch and conditions

The Gabba curator Kevin Mitchell jnr. has predicted a slightly drier surface than that prepared for last year's Test against New Zealand, increasing the likelihood of a fifth day finish and the involvement of the spinners. However some cloud and rain is predicted over the next five days, and Clarke admitted on match eve he was now considering four quicks more seriously.

Stats and trivia

  • South Africa will retain top spot on the ICC Test rankings with a drawn series. Australia will claim top spot from them with a series win
  • This is South Africa's first Test match at the Gabba since 1963
  • Michael Clarke needs 55 runs to go past Neil Harvey, another fleet-footed batsman, on Australia's all-time list of Test run scorers


"We know how good South Africa is and respect them for it but we also know we can beat them. We are confident in our ability to beat anyone, anywhere, any time if we play at our best."
Michael Clarke strikes a confident note

"We have looked at areas that we can exploit within the Australian team as they would do with us. We feel that if we can put pressure on them in certain areas then we can make some plays in those big moments, that is ultimately what the Test series is going to boil down to."
Gary Kirsten on South Africa's planning.

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

RSS Feeds: Daniel Brettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by syed.r.karim on (November 9, 2012, 0:17 GMT)

@Haleos: I always respect Australian selection process. First khwaja replaced by Shaun Marsh. Shaun has been given one after one opportunity but he was the poorest batsman. Now Quiney given a chance to improve his game like Shaun. khwaja selection was not gift for him like Rob Quiney . Realy khwaja deserve the opportunity instead of experimenting with Quiney.

Posted by smudgeon on (November 8, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

Gosh, I really don't get all the criticism (or indifference) of Hilf here. The guy took India - one of the world's best batting lineups - apart last summer, in an intelligent, consistent, and ruthless manner. It was a pleasure to watch a bowler with so much potential reinvent himself in such a manner. IIRC, he even took more wickets than Sid. To me, leaving ANY of Siddle, Pattinson, or Hilfenhaus out is a hard decision. Unfortunately, as much as I see huge potential in Starc, he's the guy to miss out if they pick Lyon as the fourth bowler - I'd be reluctant to mess with what has been a winning formula. Starc will get his oppotunity, and when he does he has the potential to be one of our best left-armers ever. In the meantime, Hilf, Sid, and Patto are bowling as a great pace unit, with good mix of variety, aggression, and intelligence. Good luck to them against the Saffas, this is going to be an awesome series - as always between Aus & SA!

Posted by Marcio on (November 8, 2012, 23:36 GMT)

Looks like I was wrong - Smith won and elected to bat. I must say this amazes me. The pitch must have dried out a heap since the pics I saw yesterday! Even so, I would have thought Steyn and co would have been chomping at the bit to bowl first! Just as well I'm not captaining a team at the Gabba, I suppose.

Posted by Marcio on (November 8, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

For this game, I expect the toss will decide the outcome, given the nature of the pitch and the fast bowling attacks. Basically the team batting first (i.e. the team that loses the toss) will be trying to save the game. If they get to lunch with no more than 2 wickets down, they will have a decent chance of doing that.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 8, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

@shazada1 on (November 08 2012, 10:23 AM GMT) "What's wrong with australian selection comitee"

Are you referring to the same selection committee that has taken the Oz team to the brink of regaining their number one position? Just askin'

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 8, 2012, 21:26 GMT)

Last 6 months form: Pattinson FC average 20, Siddle FC average high 20s, Starc ODI/T20 average low teens, Hilfenhaus ODI/T20 average high 20s, Lyon FC average mid 50s. Lyon should not be in contention on form, and if they insist on playing a spinner for the sake of playing a spinner, the worst (out of these 4) fast bowler is clearly Hilfenhaus. Starc is in the BEST form of the 4...

Posted by Beertjie on (November 8, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

"Clarke admitted on match eve he was now considering four quicks more seriously." And quite right too. This won't be a cliff hanger imho unless Oz wins it. To win it we need to keep up the pressure on the Saffa bats and 4 quicks will do it when you see that 2 will bowl short spells. Take your foot off the pedal early and it will come back to haunt you. Win the toss and send them in! Kallis will come back to Oz one last time for the World Ciup 2015, so he'll keep playing till then. Never liked the guy but now accept him as (almost) Sobers' equal.

Posted by Meety on (November 8, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

@Macca_mat on (November 08 2012, 04:59 AM GMT) - Patto to get 5 for 20 in the Saffas 1st innings!

Posted by ObjectiveCricketism on (November 8, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

What a mouth-watering series in prospect! Australia's home advantage may not be sufficient as the South Africans are a very strong outfit, fully determined to stay number one in the rankings. Let us wish both teams the best of luck and may the best team win.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 8, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

looking at the weather forecast its more like Manchester

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

Come on Hashim Amla By the way series of the year starting on 25th Dec 2012 mind anna rascala..

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 8, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

I am very much surprised to see, No arrogant statements from any of the players from both the teams. generally our Australian brothers kick start some fire before every match. I wish them to be a stronger team like they were in 2000's. Otherwise cricket is becoming so boring with all 'hit-n-go' players

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

Aussies white wash can only be saved by a rain wash..:-)

Posted by Middlemarch on (November 8, 2012, 17:58 GMT)

I reckon the series result will come down to how well Australia bats. Their bowling at home will be superb and there's no doubt that they have some fantastic players in Ponting,Clarke, Hussey but at least two of them are past their very best. However if they do fire, consistently, Aussie will do extremely well. I hope they do as world cricket is far better off with a strong, dominant Australia.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

nice to see Rudolph in the South Africa line up.. i'm also eager to see Mr Hussey bat again.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

My Dossier for the Aussies:

1. Ed Cowan: latest score: 6, 26, 22, 74, 42, 16, 13, 35, 17, 8, 19, 16, 8, 1. That last 8 and 1 were against the Netherlands. Totally inexperience and played India and West Indies only. A strong candidate for LBW against Philander. Early wicket of him will create extra pressure to the top order. 2. David Warner: last few match scores: 2, 39, 21, 1, 8, 5. He is confident? Ya? Again, in swingers from Philander and little away going movements from Morkel and Philander will catch the bird. Always tend to be attacking. South African attack will really love it.

Posted by Aussasinator on (November 8, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Although I would like to see SA win, the team is a set of super players who are a bit dumb in the head. They lack imagination, not quick thinking to exploit the Aussie batting weaknesses against the risng ball and look too laid back to play the mind games. if Kirsten can solve this IQ problem, then these chokers will finally be there.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

man why does everyone keep harping on about this 1-1 series in south africa like its anything to take from. . . if you'd cast your memories back a bit you would realise that at the time SA had not played a test for close to 8 months, and aus were well and truly in the groove after beating sri lanka at home. had there been 1 more test it would have been SA's series!! i mean come on would AUS have drawn there series with NZ had there been another?? that being said this is a mouth watering clash, lets the games begin and the speculation end! Proteas for life!

Posted by Sivaprem on (November 8, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

30% chance of Rain throughout the first day !!! And Rain forecast on all 5 days!! This is the last thing I wanted to hear !! Any locals have a view of the weather???

Posted by Kentheavenonearth on (November 8, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

A world-class doubleduel of quicks and spinners to keep up warm, what a wonderful winter like never before ! Cmon Aussies, I want you back at No 1 (so that we can take the mace right off you when we retain the Ashes during your Urn-less decade)

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

waiting... waiting... waiting..... Series of the Year!!

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (November 8, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

Since SWITCH HIT AND OUT WARNER is a walking wicket australia have to play with only 9 batsman...advantage southafrica..

Posted by 64blip on (November 8, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

I'm looking forward to this series. I can't agree that the two teams are close on paper. The Saffers have #2,4,5 and 7 bats in top ten versus Clarke at #6 and non of those guys are on the way down. Someone said Kallis was mediocre in England until his 180. Yeah, well that's the kind of mediocrity I could live with! They have the top two bowlers plus #9 and non of them are out of sorts or injured. The Aussies have #6 and 7, Siddle and Hilfenhaus but then the Saffers have Kallis as an extra! The Aussies have home advantage, which will count. But it really is going to have to count!

Posted by Farrukh.91. on (November 8, 2012, 16:44 GMT)

For me the players to watch will be Ponting, Amla, Imran Tahir and Starc!

Posted by cover_drive12345 on (November 8, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

@Mohid456 the World Cup was in a completely different format, players have to adjust the way they play, I don't believe it is a fair comparison-t20 form against test form. Am counting down the hours having not watched a single game of cricket since the overload of t20. Good luck South Africa!

Posted by drinks.break on (November 8, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

@Haleos, Khawaja an import?!? His family moved to Australia when he was a child. He went to Westfield Sports High School and NSW Uni. As a cricketer he came up through the Sydney grade ranks (playing for Randwick).

If Khawaja's an import, then that makes Henriques and Symonds imports as well (born in Portugal and England respectively).

By 2025 they estimate that 50% of Sydney's population will be non-Australian born. The "face" of modern Australia is looking increasingly like Khawaja's!

Posted by BravoBravo on (November 8, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

AUS will win. It will be 2-1 in AUS favor. SAffas are a very balanced team, but it is something about them that is not as inspiring as it is about WI, PAK and AUS teams. Their (WI, PAK and AUS ) inclusion in any cricketing event, brings a whole lot glamor and competitiveness in the game.

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 8, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

Waiting for this series. Two wonderful, fiercely competing teams playing with full guns. Some how I am inclined to support SA (as I see more chance for them to win). I wish Ponting score big in this series. Reality Check for Australia.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Aussie's top 3 batting lineup is looking too weak. There is a chance of losing 3 wickets for 0 in Brisbane pitch where it is said to assist quick bowlers. They need to go with four seamers for their first match and their experienced players Clark, Pointing & hussey should bat well to save them from this series. If those 3 fail then there is a chance for them to lose this series very badly. Haddin has been in good touch, lets wait and see what Wade can do with the bat.

Posted by harshthakor on (November 8, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

The greatest test cricket of modern times was witnesing series between these two nations.They have an intensity and sense of competitiveness unmatched,like a great boxing bout.Remember the two drawn series when S.Africa came back into International cricket in 1993-94 in Australia and 1994 in S.Africa.Although S.Africa were beaten in the 1997 home series and on the 1997-98 tour of Australia they lost by the margin of only one test and almost drew both the series.Then for a time Australia completely dominated till the reversal in 2008-09 when South Africa won their 1st series down under by a 2-1 margin.It was ironical that 2 months later Australia reversed the result on South Africa's very home soil by the same margin.Morally thus s the score was 3-3.In the last drawn series in South Africa in 2011 we saw two of test cricket's hardest fought contests.Ist the Proteas magnificient win coming back from behind in the 1st test and then the cliffhanger which Australia clinched in the 2nd test

Posted by redneck on (November 8, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

since when does form over england count like it means anything in this series? south africa beat england in england, it doesnt mean they just rock up and win here in aus! hell they only managed their first win out here because australia always play to win, england play for a draw the moment they hit a hurdle! take the perth test the last time south africa were out here. aus declared only 4 down and south africa managed to pull off a unlikely win. if that were england they would have batted another day longer and declared and given south africa 30 overs before calling it even and going off.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

South africa will win...but im really excite to see starc with red ball

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

yes Aus in great form. and playing in home country . who has to score runs for SA if Amla and kallis fails.Real worry is SAS batting kesavkoundinya

Posted by mgsub on (November 8, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Thank god Test cricket is back. T20 is such a farce. Test cricket is where you separate the men from the boys. This is going to be great. I'm hoping for an epic series. When Australia and South Africa play, great things can happen. The key here will be bowling. Both sides have comparatively great batsmen. Bowling will make the difference I think. Both sides have world class bowlers, but Steyn, Philander and Morkel have the slight edge, however, those sledging Aussie fans are the one intangible that would make it too close to call.

Posted by jb633 on (November 8, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

As a neutral more than anything I seriously hope that the stadiums are full. We desperatley need people to start watching test cricket live if we are to see it overcome the T20 hurdle. Hopefully the attendances will be high for this series and the England vs India series. After all as much as I hate to say it if test cricket is to survive these countries have got to be followed. I would have put Sri Lanka in this bracket but they have just sold test cricket down the river for anothe borin bilateral odi series.

Posted by jb633 on (November 8, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

Strangely as an English fan I really want Australia to win this series to shut up all the fans who fawn over South Africa. Undoubtedly South Africa have the better group of players and they certainly dominated England with ease. I do feel however that the brand of cricket they play witll never allow them to dominate like Australia did in the 90's. Graeme Smith is a great motivator but I think tactically he is average. he has always erred on the side of caution and I often feel he bats on too long (eg. New Zeland series). I know the English media is braindead but I feel the SA media is of the mould also. We hear stories about a legacy and how they are now over their fear of failure etc. Maybe they can say these things if they don't lose a series for three years. I want an Aus and England win so when the Ashes comes about the series takes more meaning than if both sides get trounced. I feel the scenario next July may be very different though.

Posted by usernames on (November 8, 2012, 14:01 GMT)

Australia's a very good team, but I don't see them winning here. 2-1 to SA, with Adelaide to the Australian team.

Posted by CutHis_ArminHalf on (November 8, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

@Haleos - Khawaja is not an import.

England have a couple. But you can hardly call even all those born in Saffa Land inmports.

Examples. Strauss. Born abroad but most definitely grew up and had his cricket education in england.

KP - played U19 cricket for saffas - 100% import.

Or do you think you need to trace your lineage back 100 years before being allowed to play for a country?

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

I love it how Aussie-bashers are under-estimating Aussie grit, tenacity and fight. Bring it on!!!

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

hi i m boney. 2day my great fan brett lee's birth day . so i wise ur wonderful memories brett lee. aus 1st test definetly win........

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

i want a TV in my room............

Posted by Akheel on (November 8, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Now this, a series worth waking up early......

Posted by on (November 8, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

Whats with all this SA fans ? , last time i remember this Australian team WENT TO SA and BEAT them in ODI and DREW the test series 1-1 ( Which would have been 2-0 if not for one freakish session ! ) , so may be they should shut up and give this team some respect.. -- from an Indian fan

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

ah it finally begins! i've never waited so badly for a test series to begin. after the joke called champions league, something to look forward to. aus vs sa followed by ind vs eng. :)

Posted by jezzastyles on (November 8, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

The AUS bowling attack has been consistently good over the past 18-months; the same cannot be said of the batting. Far too inconsistent and prone to top-order collapses. That's where the series will be decided - SA have the ever reliable Kallis and Amla anchoring the top order, batsmen against whom the bowlers have to truly earn their wicket. The AUS attack is bowling to a better batting lineup (on paper at least), pure and simple. Ponting, Clarke, and Hussey must dominate with the bat for AUS to have any chance of winning the series. I'll be very happy with a drawn series - SA thoroughly deserve their ranking and must be short-priced favourites to win the series. Good luck to both teams.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

@nthuq, I will be supporting South Africa, cant stand Australia. Go Proteas and go anybody playing Oz.

Posted by Haleos on (November 8, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

Its going to be great series. Tightly fought. @SA fans - dont underestimate the aussies. they have excellent bowling attack. @shazada1 - whats with u all khwaja supporters. he is just an ordinary player. nothing great about him. An innings of 30-40 in tests does not make someone great. Hope aussies dont go the pom way on relying on imports. that too mediocere.

Posted by nthuq on (November 8, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

@Selassie-I, I followed the test series with England and South Africa, even cheering England to win since I just can't stand South Africa. But the way England pushed South Africa in the latter tests has me confident Australia can do better considering their recent successes. And this South African team isn't too different from the one we drew with on their turf.

Posted by india_sports_fan on (November 8, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

gonna be a cracking test series.I think south afrika will win series but ausies are no less.

Posted by decko on (November 8, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Im absolutley hanging to prove all you nay-sers wrong! It seems there are so many haters of Australia posting on here. Tall Poppy syndrome I think. Lets keep it real people. Ponting looks in great touch and I have no doubt will peform extremely well in this series. Quiney will make a fine debut and Australia's quicks will keep S.A in check. It won't be an easy series win for Australia but it will be a win none the less. You wait and see. And all you Aussie haters out there, especially you England lads commenting, enjoy it while you can. It was almost 2 decades that you got smashed by Australia, no other country in world cricket will ever dominate that game like we did for as long as we did! Now we are on our way back. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 8, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

I wonder if the Aussies are losing, then will all their fans with match tickets just decide to not turn up like the last Ashes?

I think some of the Aussie fans didn't watch the England matches or even read the scorecards. England were thrashed in the first test, 2nd was a draw but could have been won by England had there not been rain, 3rd test would have been a draw had England not tried to knock off 350 on the last day to draw the series - and nearly done it. The series should have been 4/5 games. Short memories, not stretching back to the last Ashes I think(or even the ODI pummeling)

Posted by harshthakor on (November 8, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

Today ,there is no real champion test team in the world.After reaching at the top England faltered in successive series on the sub-continent,losing to Pakistan 3-0 and drawing with Sri Lanka 1-1.England who in 2010-11 in Australia and 2011 in England played like world -beaters hardly displayed the same form on the sub-continent. Man -to man South Africa are clearly better and should be favourites .However analysing history and the way cricket form has changed so dramatically in recent times Australia may well reverse the result just as they did in 2009 in South Africa.I would love to see South Africa consolidate their position at no 1 but still feel that a drawn series is the most likely outcome.

Morally,to me there is no real world champion team.Just see how dramatically the positions of India and England have reversed in recent times. Let us hope for a great series bet

Posted by Mohid456 on (November 8, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

On paper south africa is a much stronger unit but you can never count off an austrailian team at home. Much is talked about the south african batting line up but one thing shouldnt be forgotten is the fact that austrailia has hussey, clarke and ponting three very good players. And another thing is that the form of south african players isnt good. Ab de villers, kallis, dale steyn, morkel, hashim amla all of them featured in the world T20 and still south africa lost all three of their matches in the super six. So this is going to be a good even series.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 8, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Should be an interesting series and the Aussie bowlers will be a handful in home conditions. If the pitch is as spicy as predicted the first innings could be a bit of a lottery. Still, overall the Aussie batting is the weakest it's been since Kim Hughes burst into tears so hard to see them scoring enough runs.

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (November 8, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

Will be a one sided match.Australia will be beaten like anything by the SAF team.Best of luck for both teams.SAF best wishes to WIN and AUS hard luck for the failure.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (November 8, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Its really the bowlers season now....on one hand, Aus Vs SA, people are talking about handling the quicks...on another hand, Ind Vs End, People are talking about Handling spinners....Oh god! Cricket is alive again

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Everyone says this "if we play at our best" what does it mean actually? To me its some kind of lame. There should be no if.

Posted by sachin_equal_to_bradman on (November 8, 2012, 10:41 GMT)

Am an indian.My prediction for this series is that SA wil win since they hav better bowling attack.May be aussies can get a consolation draw.Just think about the aussie batting,Its like india's batting since both the teams are under transition.But aussie bowling is far better than india's.All the best for both teams.But SA wil win!!!

Posted by shazada1 on (November 8, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

What's wrong with australian selection comitee. Why don't they pick Usman Khawaja--he plays one game, left out for next 3 and then plays one again.

Every time he plays he bats well. so why not leave him in the team on consistent basis.

I think rob quiney will be a failure.

Posted by Stevi on (November 8, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

aussie got no chance. They will lose all three games hands down

Posted by disco_bob on (November 8, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

It would be going against everything that Michael Clarke stands for to leave out Lyon. I think there is close to zero chance of Lyon not playing. I do not even think Clarky has seriously considered it.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 8, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

@ hammond - no chance it's going to hurt ! Will be fun ! Losing is near as good as winning and so long as doesn't involve Trott taking 5 minutes per delivery or Hammond complaining before series starts or who cares between the cynical Hutton or Viv Richards bowling 10 overs an hour..... it'll be good to watch !

Posted by Hammond on (November 8, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Get your excuses ready Australia (or better yet, go and watch some NRL/AFL replays) because this one is going to hurt.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

@Aravind - he's injured. Shouldn't be a surprise. This is Watson we are talking about...

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (November 8, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

@Facebook User-Well you just about got sick and tired of blasting your own sorry England team with their pathetic showing vs SA at home-and duly getting smashed with rain saving them an embarrassing whitewash -not that it would have been a first with a few already heaped on the so called 'no.1' side by all comers in the past and half.And as for the talking you would know better with all the off field 'drama'during the ill fated SA series -and there was more than talking- and some of the so called star players had a lot to do- talking ,tweeting, faxing..texting-and stuff.I am not going to begin on the excuses of the English after the smashing from SA-the only thing your'e 'truly' no.1 at.As for Aus vs SA -the contest between the two best teams in the world (comfortably) and for the no.1 spot- its best to keep bog avg. England out of it -and their fight to stay in the no.5 or so they are in. You don't need to bring minnows anywhere in it- its all about the top dogs for no.1 isn't it?

Posted by 200ondebut on (November 8, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

Biggest mis-match in history. On side is full of world class players the other full of those with little talent but try hard. Aussies will have their buts thrashed again - just like England did. Not sure SA will manage three victories by an innings - but I predict a whitewash.

Posted by pratit on (November 8, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

With 3 left handers in the top 3 for Australia, it appears Morkel will share the new ball again with Philander. It is going to be tough for OZ.

Posted by Haleos on (November 8, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

Mr Clarke - any team can beat any team(except bangladesh - for whom the other team has to play badly as well) if they play at their best. Such a cliche.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (November 8, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

The 'real test' of the no.1 begins tom between the 2 best teams in the world atm with daylight next.The script for test cricket won't get better and the fact both are evenly matched (with some 'chinks' obviously) just adds to it.Chance for SA to prove worth as no.1-although barely a few months-not been tested by 'quality' opposition for a year or so -vs Aus in SA last year.SA's rusty with a long off season and below par warmup games and will be exploited.Also, a false sense of overconfidence by thrashing a substandard Eng side-they who have series whitewashes and clinical thrashings from about everyone to show in their little joust with-no.1!-no pun this:))-and got what deserved from vastly superior SA.SA have a daunting task saving their no.1 against (finally) a side their match with home adv-not only 'playing conditions' ,the partisan crowd baying for blood and equally pace attack .The dreaded 'C' word will surely be flying around the ear as well! :)Aus 2 :SA 0 in a well fought TS.

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

Maybe I'm a bit biased but I think this SA team under Gary Kirsten has come of age and will dominate world cricket for 2/3 years. Their pace attack and their top 3 batsmen(and the balance and experience of 4 to 7) are infinitely stronger than Oz. The spinners are probably even but Tahir offers a better wicket taking option. Oz do have home advantage and their fight spirit but seem to me to be somewhat fragile compared to the solider teams of old. SA 2 - 0 after a first test draw due to the rain around Brisbane...thereafter SA's class and experience will prevail.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

Haha ...all this hype is for nothing ..micheal Clarke and the Australian team is all about talking but has no performances to say that they are better than the SA team..south Africa will demolish this weak Australian team .. This series will be just like what England did to the Aussies .. They should enjoy their cricket rather than trying to be the best...because clearly they are not the worlds best ..

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Where is Shane Watson?? He should bepicked up instead of Cowan or Quiney.. not a good idea of leave a best all rounder for OZ..

Posted by .Raina on (November 8, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

The first session tomorrow will decide in which direction the series goes. OZ 3/100 odd or SA 0/150 odd, and Clarkey will start looking towards Quiney / Hussey. But if it goes the other way round, SA will find it difficult to come out of it for the whole will be a 'wipe-out' after that.

Also SA have a habit of losing the second test even if they start with a win. In any case SA are under more pressure than the Aussies, and Aussies know how to jump back. It will be a 2-0 for OZ, or 1-1 the worst case. Go Aussies!!

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

Just get on with the cricket already!

Posted by PFEL on (November 8, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

"leaves Warner the most senior batsman in the Australian top three" --> i could have been very happy never hearign those words . . .

Posted by Mary_786 on (November 8, 2012, 4:59 GMT)

@Meety I can't wait for the match either, this will be a fantastic match, can't wait, go the Aussies. I am also predicting a big game for Pattinson.

Posted by shwet14 on (November 8, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

If one looks at the squads ,one thing which stands out is the difference at the top- both batting and bowling, with SA coming out trupms. Smith, Peterson, Amla has a much sturdier look to it than Warner, Cowan, Quiney. Had Watson been in the mix,and MC decides to move up to number 3, things would have been different. Ditto the bowling- Steyn,Morkel,Philander will create many more butterflies in the batsmans' stomach rather than Siddle, Hilfenhaus,Pattinson. There's not much to choose between the middle orders and spinners Kallis, AB,Rudolph,Duminy are evenly matched by Ponting,Clarke,Hussey,Wade. Lyon may have a slight edge over Tahir, but that is solely due to the experience of Home Conditions. Aus may have some advantage on the drawing board though, with Micky providing some inside information on SA. But I still feel SA would come out victors at the end.

Posted by harshthakor on (November 8, 2012, 3:48 GMT)

o me the greatest test cricket of modern times was witnesing series between these two nations.They have an intensity and sense of competitiveness unmatched,like a great boxing bout.Remember the two drawn series when S.Africa came back into International cricket in 1993-94 in Australia and 1994 in S.Africa.Although S.Africa were beaten in the 1997 home series and on the 1997-98 tour of Australia they lost by the margin of only one test and almost drew both the series.Then for a time Australia completely dominated till the reversal in 2008-09 when South Africa won their 1st series down under by a 2-1 margin.It was ironical that 2 months later Australia reversed the result on South Africa's very home soil by the same margin.Morally thus s the score was 3-3.In the last drawn series in South Africa in 2011 we saw two of test cricket's hardest fought contests.Ist the Proteas magnificient win coming back from behind in the 1st test and then the cliffhanger which Australia clinched in the 2nd.

Posted by Htc-Android on (November 8, 2012, 3:39 GMT)

Australias top 3 looks so weak. i dont think they can beat SA. THey should have ponting batting at no 3.

Posted by Masud_BITK on (November 8, 2012, 3:20 GMT)

I strongly believe that it would be poor idea from Michael Clarke, if he sidelines Lyons. It is simply because SA is very strong in pace attack and Lyons is a handy off- spinner. He may think he can bowl few in place of Lyons. It also makes imbalance of AU attack. Spin bowlers are about to die in AU, it will be the last pegging on coffin if Lyons does not play.

Posted by allieeb on (November 8, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

Oz top 3 a bit undercooked me thinks. Could struggle thereafter.

Posted by Meety on (November 8, 2012, 2:56 GMT)

C'mon Ozzys! Hopefully Siddle & Patto will repeat their figures from their last match at the Gabba!

Posted by JoieDeVivre on (November 8, 2012, 2:42 GMT)

4 quicks worked against India but against SAF may not work more so when the curator is predicting a slightly dry surface. Knowing Michael Clarke as a skipper I will be shocked if Aussies end up playing without frontline spinner. Hopefully come tomorrow Cricket does all the talking, at the moment loads of inane stuff flying.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 8, 2012, 2:29 GMT)

Little Mystery ? So take even the last series.... we all knew Clarke was the best batsman since Mark Waugh (at Port Elizabeth) on an impossible deck ? We all knew Charlie Turners impossible record would be challenged by Vernon Philander ? We all knew that an 18 yo with a bit of fire in the belly could wreck South Africa (add his batting and that catch !) ?' We all knew Dale Steyn and Mitchell Johnson would be standout batsmen ?

There is so much mystery in these encounters one may now even expect Graeme Smith or Ricky Ponting to suddenly hate a contest and retire because it's too hard ?

It's the - we don't any of us know"" that has us salivating ! :))

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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