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October 28, 2011
Australia have a headache surrounding the fitness of Shane Watson, who is yet to bowl in training after suffering from back spasms at St George's Park. The flair-up followed a hip complaint that kept him out of the first ODI, and Watson's history of suffering injuries in bunches will be at the back of Clarke's mind, even though his vice-captain has been far more durable over the past two years. Clarke will also want more from his pace bowlers, who were taken for plenty of new-ball runs at the hands of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith.
Morne Morkel's hostile and intelligent bowling was perhaps the most ominous performance from a South Africa player in the second ODI, and took him top he top of the ICC rankings. The stand-in captain Hashim Amla will want more of the same from Morkel and Dale Steyn as they build to a peak for the Tests. JP Duminy can push for a Test batting spot with more runs in Durban, while Amla himself would appreciate a better day out than the last - a first-ball duck at the hands of Doug Bollinger.
In the spotlight
Australia's last limited overs fixture before February means this is likely the last time Doug Bollinger will be seen in the national strip till then. Bollinger is still fighting the deeply-held views of the national selectors and others that he is not fit enough to sustain his efforts in a Test match, and has not been selected for one since the second Test of last summer's Ashes series. Durban will provide a final opportunity for Bollinger to remind observers of his qualities with the ball, before he returns home with the desire to bowl the long spells for New South Wales that will prove his capability of going the distance in a Test once more.
Pitch and conditions
South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla (capt), 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 JP Duminy, 5 David Miller, 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Johan Botha, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Shaun Marsh has a strong chance to return to the team after recovering from a shoulder problem, and may resume in place of Shane Watson, giving Australia's vice-captain extra time to be fully fit for the Tests. James Pattinson or Mitchell Marsh may also be considered to bolster the pace attack.
Australia (probable) 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 David Warner, 3 Ricky Ponting, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Steve Smith, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Xavier Doherty, 11 Doug Bollinger.
Stats & trivia
"If we play like we did the other night, we'll get a hiding from South Africa again."
Australia captain Michael Clarke doesn't mince his words
"I wouldn't quite say it's a World Cup final. The team has a bigger goal at hand. There are other aspects of the game that we are going to be putting emphasis on."
Stand-in South Africa captain Hashim Amla plays down the importance of the decider
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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