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
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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

Quotes

"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.

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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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