Australia v South Africa, Tri-series, Harare August 26, 2014

ODI equals seek bragging rights

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Match facts

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Start time 0930 local (0730 GMT)

Big Picture

Finally, some competition.

Do not pretend that you have not been thinking it, even though you may feel uncomfortable about how it reflects on what you think of the hosts of this series. The reality is that Zimbabwe's ability to stay in a contest, which started promisingly in the one-off Test against South Africa, has been almost non-existent in the one-dayers, and the only way this tournament was likely to grab some attention is if there was something to liven it up. Luckily, South Africa and Australia could do that just by being in the same room.

The countries are old rivals, but also good friends. They may have bones to pick with each other, but will share beverages afterwards. While there is no love lost between them, there is also a lot of mutual respect. Although they are tussling over a trophy few will even remember in months to come, the two teams will not be going easy on each other as they look to claim early bragging rights ahead of the World Cup.

Recent ODI history favours South Africa, who have won three of the last four series between these two teams. However, Australia have had the upper hand in other formats and their current ascendancy makes this contest too close to call. By next Saturday, we may have a different answer.

Since Zimbabwe's chances of appearing in the final are minimal, South Africa and Australia have two potential rehearsals before the big day.

Form guide


(last five completed games, most recent first)

Australia WWLWW
South Africa WWWWL

In the spotlight

Glenn Maxwell's brutal hitting has been on display against Pakistan, West Indies, India, England and Zimbabwe, but he has not had the opportunity to see if he can pull the same off against a South African ODI attack. Maxwell has shown a disregard for reputation, which South Africa are aware of. So instead of getting scared, the likes of Dale Steyn might be fired up to get under the batsman's skin.

Scores of 7, 21 and 1 in Zimbabwe over the last three weeks have left AB de Villiers flying under the radar on this trip. After being rested from the final ODI against Zimbabwe, the South Africa captain will be keen to show he is ready to lead from the front against the top-ranked team in the world. De Villiers is usually a man for the big occasion and would likely regard a match against Australia as the perfect time to up the ante.

Team news

Michael Clarke will only make an appearance at the "back-end," of the tri-series, according to George Bailey, so Mitchell Marsh could keep his spot at No.3. The Aaron Finch-Brad Haddin opening partnership worked well in the tournament opener, so Phil Hughes may still have to wait for his turn. The only debate that remains is whether Ben Cutting should get a chance or if the left-hand heavy attack will continue.

Australia: 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Steve Smith, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Kane Richardson, 10 Mitchell Starc/Ben Cutting, 11 Nathan Lyon

South Africa will welcome back their premier pacemen Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who will replace Kyle Abbott and Mthokozisi Shezi respectively. With Vernon Philander out of the series, Wayne Parnell is likely to get the nod ahead of the other reserve seamer Kyle Abbott. Hashim Amla is also expected back at the top of the order, as is the captain de Villiers. Aaron Phangiso performed well when given an opportunity in the third ODI, and he may retain his place ahead of Imran Tahir.

South Africa: 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir/Aaron Phangiso

Pitch and conditions

Zimbabwe's ground staff have done their best to dehydrate the surfaces as much as possible to avoid handing any further advantage to the pace attacks the hosts might face this winter. However, since the home team is not involved in this fixture, they may turn the taps on. But even if they don't, Harare's surface has traditionally always had something in it for the bowlers early on. There may be some sparks flying as the two old frenemies kick off their contest, but there should also be plenty of runs to be scored in the summer sunshine.

Stats and trivia

  • The head-to-head record between Australia and South Africa is much closer than what both teams have against Zimbabwe. Of the 80 ODIs played between the two teams, Australia have won 41 and South Africa 36.

  • Australia and South Africa have been involved in six tri-series together of which Australia have won four and South Africa, one. India was the other team to prevail in a three-team series featuring Australia and South Africa.

    Quotes

    "Any time that we can perform really well without him in the team I think it bodes well because we know how strong we're going to be when he does get right and he comes back in."

    Australia's stand-in captain George Bailey says it's important the team does not rely too heavily on Michael Clarke

    "This is the pinnacle of cricket, you want to play against the best in the world. Australia are number one in the world and play a good brand of cricket but they also haven't played much in the last few months. We probably do have the advantage in terms of match practice."

    Although Australia did not look like a team who had spent six months with their feet up, JP Duminy still thinks South Africa have an edge

    Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • andrew-schulz on August 27, 2014, 8:33 GMT

      Swan draught, I would have thought Warner would have been a real option as next captain. Xtrafalgar, you mention Harris and then say don't change the side. What about Harris for the World Cup if fit and firing? I'm losing patience with Starc.

    • Shaggy076 on August 27, 2014, 8:21 GMT

      Xtrafalgarx: Like your team however I think death bowling is a weakness and I would consider Richardson for Faulkner. As good as Faulkners batting is we really shouldn't need it that often.

    • on August 27, 2014, 7:32 GMT

      Excited to see how AB and Amla responding to Australian pace attack.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 27, 2014, 7:31 GMT

      @Dunger.bob and @Swan_Draught: Yes, Smith is a good cricketer and is likely to improve, and he does look like the likely replacement for Clarke. However, there is plenty of time for him to improve AFTER the world cup. What's the rush? All these guys, M. Marsh, S. Smith, K. Richardson could well be big parts of the ODI side in due course, but for the world cup it's best to go with our coolest and most experienced heads, and Clarke is part of that.

      I understand your concerns about him, but he along with Bailey have been the rock in our batting line up. They have been the guys that have ensured that the flair of Finch, Warner, Maxwell and co. don't go to waste. They give us grit and substance to go with flair. Throwing away over 200 ODI caps for a gamble that might pay off is too big a risk ahead of a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a cup on home soil.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 27, 2014, 7:22 GMT

      @Rickyvoncanterbury: Finch, Warner, Watson, Clarke, Bailey, Maxwell, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, Starc, Lyon/Doherty. For me it's that simple, that's our first XI. We are making things more difficult than they have to be.

    • on August 27, 2014, 7:20 GMT

      This is just a wee taster for the real series between these two in Australia in November. As these conditions are no where near what the WC conditions will be like , so even if Aus win by 100 runs or SA win by 100 it's not really going to tell the whole story , although I'm expecting a tough evenly matched contest that is likely to be decided by who bowls better at the depth. Let this ever great rivalry start once again and let the best team win.

    • on August 27, 2014, 7:18 GMT

      @andrew-schulz: I will never forget that tri series that marked the end of Steve Waugh's ODI career. Of course, the major problem for the Australians was the continued failure of both Mark and Steve Waugh in the league phase.

    • rickyvoncanterbury on August 27, 2014, 7:09 GMT

      @dunger.bob your not alone mate, but when the hate mail comes in your on your own.

    • andrew-schulz on August 27, 2014, 6:54 GMT

      The other stat about this game is that whoever wins will have the best win ratio in the history of ODI cricket. These two have been swapping that title since the champions trophy of 2004, though Australia had established a bit of a lead before some easy recent opposition for South Africa. On the negative side, how can we possibly have this bonus point system back? It won't matter this time, but can anyone remember NZ deliberately conceding a bonus point to keep Australia out of the finals in 2002? It is ridiculous. Any bonus point for the winning side MUST have a corresponding penalty for the losing side.

    • dunger.bob on August 27, 2014, 6:53 GMT

      To be perfectly and absolutely honest, I'm finding it hard to justify a place for the captain. The one that's currently injured, not the one that led us in the game against Zim. .. I've heard some people say that he should be in for his captaincy skills alone but I'm not so sure about that in the shorter formats. Bailey seems quite competent to me and the boys seem to play well under him.

      That's probably sacrilege in some peoples eyes but it's been gnawing away at me for a while now. I was just wondering if I'm a lone voice in having that suspicion?

    • andrew-schulz on August 27, 2014, 8:33 GMT

      Swan draught, I would have thought Warner would have been a real option as next captain. Xtrafalgar, you mention Harris and then say don't change the side. What about Harris for the World Cup if fit and firing? I'm losing patience with Starc.

    • Shaggy076 on August 27, 2014, 8:21 GMT

      Xtrafalgarx: Like your team however I think death bowling is a weakness and I would consider Richardson for Faulkner. As good as Faulkners batting is we really shouldn't need it that often.

    • on August 27, 2014, 7:32 GMT

      Excited to see how AB and Amla responding to Australian pace attack.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 27, 2014, 7:31 GMT

      @Dunger.bob and @Swan_Draught: Yes, Smith is a good cricketer and is likely to improve, and he does look like the likely replacement for Clarke. However, there is plenty of time for him to improve AFTER the world cup. What's the rush? All these guys, M. Marsh, S. Smith, K. Richardson could well be big parts of the ODI side in due course, but for the world cup it's best to go with our coolest and most experienced heads, and Clarke is part of that.

      I understand your concerns about him, but he along with Bailey have been the rock in our batting line up. They have been the guys that have ensured that the flair of Finch, Warner, Maxwell and co. don't go to waste. They give us grit and substance to go with flair. Throwing away over 200 ODI caps for a gamble that might pay off is too big a risk ahead of a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a cup on home soil.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 27, 2014, 7:22 GMT

      @Rickyvoncanterbury: Finch, Warner, Watson, Clarke, Bailey, Maxwell, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, Starc, Lyon/Doherty. For me it's that simple, that's our first XI. We are making things more difficult than they have to be.

    • on August 27, 2014, 7:20 GMT

      This is just a wee taster for the real series between these two in Australia in November. As these conditions are no where near what the WC conditions will be like , so even if Aus win by 100 runs or SA win by 100 it's not really going to tell the whole story , although I'm expecting a tough evenly matched contest that is likely to be decided by who bowls better at the depth. Let this ever great rivalry start once again and let the best team win.

    • on August 27, 2014, 7:18 GMT

      @andrew-schulz: I will never forget that tri series that marked the end of Steve Waugh's ODI career. Of course, the major problem for the Australians was the continued failure of both Mark and Steve Waugh in the league phase.

    • rickyvoncanterbury on August 27, 2014, 7:09 GMT

      @dunger.bob your not alone mate, but when the hate mail comes in your on your own.

    • andrew-schulz on August 27, 2014, 6:54 GMT

      The other stat about this game is that whoever wins will have the best win ratio in the history of ODI cricket. These two have been swapping that title since the champions trophy of 2004, though Australia had established a bit of a lead before some easy recent opposition for South Africa. On the negative side, how can we possibly have this bonus point system back? It won't matter this time, but can anyone remember NZ deliberately conceding a bonus point to keep Australia out of the finals in 2002? It is ridiculous. Any bonus point for the winning side MUST have a corresponding penalty for the losing side.

    • dunger.bob on August 27, 2014, 6:53 GMT

      To be perfectly and absolutely honest, I'm finding it hard to justify a place for the captain. The one that's currently injured, not the one that led us in the game against Zim. .. I've heard some people say that he should be in for his captaincy skills alone but I'm not so sure about that in the shorter formats. Bailey seems quite competent to me and the boys seem to play well under him.

      That's probably sacrilege in some peoples eyes but it's been gnawing away at me for a while now. I was just wondering if I'm a lone voice in having that suspicion?

    • rickyvoncanterbury on August 27, 2014, 6:44 GMT

      @ xtrafalgarx OK so that was the easy decision drop Smith for Clarke, now for Warner and some are talking of Watson, some much harder decisions mate.

    • Swan_Draught on August 27, 2014, 6:37 GMT

      @xtrafalgarx He's played about 5 matches since 2012 when he had a similarly poor record at test level. He worked in domestic cricket and fixed his game and on his return to test level has made the step up. We should give him an opportunity especially since he's the only logical candidate to replace Clarke as Captain

    • yogicoolboy on August 27, 2014, 6:29 GMT

      It is going to be an even contest between bat and bowl. Both are good teams. But Australian attack has a variety. Should be good game between 2 evenly matched teams

    • dunger.bob on August 27, 2014, 6:15 GMT

      @ Shaggy076: That's exactly the vibe I get. It seems an 'all or nothing' proposition to me. No worries though, it has to be done so we can settle on a final combo. Even if it is a worse case and they get rolled for not much, I'm sure Boof and the Boffins will learn something useful that will help in the long run. At least I hope that's why they're doing this.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 27, 2014, 6:14 GMT

      @Rickyvoncanterbury: I don't see why people are so keen to keep S. Smith in the side. As much as I like him as a cricketer, could people please look at his stats? He averages only 20 in ODI's, 35 in List A, no hundreds. Easy decision, drop Smith.

    • on August 27, 2014, 6:12 GMT

      The contests between Aus and SA are mostly close because the strengths and weaknesses of both these teams are very similar and the conditions are either favorable to both or none of them. It helps that there are great fielders on both sides which plays a huge role in the closely fought games.

    • Biggus on August 27, 2014, 6:11 GMT

      I'm not quite so sanguine about our chances as some. Interestingly most of those predicting we'll roll over the Saffers are not Aussies. Most of us have too much respect for them to make such a claim and we're well aware that they grow a foot taller when we're the opposition. It will be interesting to see whether Mitchell Marsh can handle a certain D.Steyn. Number three seems too far up the order but I'm prepared to eat my words should he prove me wrong. No predictions from me other than it will be a game worth watching.

    • aman15 on August 27, 2014, 5:55 GMT

      @xtrafalgarx Not to forget harris was the best bowler by huge consensus on either side in ashes in England despite not playing the first test, especially in the third and fourth tests. Just wish he would play more tests after recovering from the surgery.

    • rickyvoncanterbury on August 27, 2014, 5:48 GMT

      @ Ramanujam Sridhar, with Watson being an all rounder he will be battling with Maxwell Faulkner Marsh and Smith for a spot, with the batsman being Finch, Warner, Clarke, Bailey and Haddin the keeper that leaves 2 all rounders spots in the Batting department which belong to Maxwell and Marsh at the moment, and the bowlers being Johnson, Starc, Cutting, Richardson, Mckay and Faulkner plus Doherty and Lyon, I just cannot see a place for him unless Marsh fails, Clarke breaks down again, or the selectors want him to be a front line bowling all rounder which Faulkner already does.

    • Swan_Draught on August 27, 2014, 5:46 GMT

      @rickyvoncanterbury The selectors are about as serious about Marsh at 3 as they are about Haddin opneing. Remember that Watson and Warner are unavailable for selection but are both in our best XI. All we can read from Marsh at 3 is that the selectors want to look at allrounders at the moment. I'm curious if this may be a dress rehearsal for the UAE test series as it's the only cricket we get before then.

    • Marktc on August 27, 2014, 5:38 GMT

      I echo many of the above sentiments....the clashes between Oz and SA always have that extra edge and both teams seem to step it up a notch or two. Games could go either way when these giants clash, in tests or ODIs. The battle on the field is hard and neither team back down and fight till the last ball or wicket. This is why, in my opinion, clashes between these two old rivals is the tip of cricket.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 27, 2014, 5:20 GMT

      Just on Harris actually, he has an interesting career. He has only played 20 odd tests, but it's funny, from an Australian point of view that he always seems to be there for the key moments. Think about it, he played in the '10/11 Ashes, he played in the '11/12 whitewash of India, played in '11 in SA, played in the '13 Northen Ashes, played in the '13/14 whitewash of England, played in '14 SA series.

      What a legend.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 27, 2014, 5:12 GMT

      No doubt SA/AUS matches have been the best quality of cricket over the past 5/6 years. Even when Australia wasn't ranked as high, they always seem to step up when they face the South Africans.

      In 2008 SA came here and beat us, in 2009 we returned the favour. 2011 was a great series, the 47 all out, Clarke's 151*, Pat Cummins' debut, and the 310 run chase. It was only two tests, but again felt long.

      2013 in Aus was good, we pushed them to the edge in both tests, Siddle's effort was excellent but Du Plessis' was one of the great hundreds on debut. Then in Perth we had them on the ropes till we got blasted out then Amla and Smith played on of the best sessions on cricket i have ever seen, taking the came away from Aus completely.

      Then most recently, 2014. Johnson's 12 wicket haul, Steyn's reverse swing in PE, Warner's hundreds and Clarke vs Morne, Harris' wickets in the dying hours of the last test - fantastic. I remember the commentary 'Like that! Like That! Harris has done it!'

    • on August 27, 2014, 5:01 GMT

      Both teams are not full strength. With Warner, watson and Clarke, Australia will be even better. I am sure South Africa will miss Steyn too.Maxwell can hit the best bowling out of the ground and equally get out to anyone who rolls his arm over. After the last few games, we need a good, tight game and both these teams know that these are all jousts before the main event , the world cup , slated for next year. Lets just have a great game. Ramanujam sridhar

    • rickyvoncanterbury on August 27, 2014, 4:55 GMT

      For me the result is not as important as the internal battle for Australia, if the selectors are serious about Marsh at 3 who gets dropped for the captain, Smith who can bowl a bit or Bailey a like for like batsman only?

    • warnerbasher on August 27, 2014, 4:54 GMT

      The whole things a megasnooze. Whens test cricket back on?

    • on August 27, 2014, 4:50 GMT

      Cutting in, Kane out. Richardson looked like he should've been wearing a Zimbabwe strip the other night, he was that pedestrian. Cutting also offers awesome hitting power if needed at the end of the innings.

    • dunger.bob on August 27, 2014, 4:47 GMT

      I agree with those that say our batting, given the right conditions and opponent, could be a little too attack oriented. It could be difficult for quite a few in our current batting list to pull their heads in if the going gets really tough. .. Still, this is the time to sort the wheat from the chaff and I think that's what our selectors are up to. .. They WANT these guys (the all-rounders mainly) to be faced with pressure situations so they can see how they handle it. It's a case of throwing them all in the water and seeing who can swim the best.

      @ Greatest_Game: Gee, thanks. I think. lol ;)

    • RoyRulez on August 27, 2014, 4:30 GMT

      SA have a more confident set of openers... 3, 4, 5 of both teams are quite evenly matched (AB vs Maxi, can't get better)... the bowling is also quite even with both teams being poor at the death (Faulkner and Morkel can be the weaklinks)... but it is the death batting where Australia scores big - Smith, Faulkner, Johnson, Starc at 6, 7, 8 and 9... that is a lot of striking!!!

    • Shaggy076 on August 27, 2014, 4:30 GMT

      Should be an interesting game Australia hasn't played against any decent opposition for a few months now so this attack should test out a few of our hitters. I got a feeling Australia will win by plenty or lose by plenty, we are picking a very aggressive batting line up who will either get a mammoth score or rolled for very little.

    • on August 27, 2014, 3:55 GMT

      @greatest game couldnt agree even more all the other competitions are great and all of that but Australia is just the team that brings the best out of our players and I guess even the australians come to the party when they play us.....it can be a hard worked small total game will be awesome with the two bowling attacks....we need to play a death bowler for sure this game parnell is not that ...#Abbott selection..tahir has to play if we believe based on past games that he is our middle overs kingping

    • Greatest_Game on August 27, 2014, 3:17 GMT

      @ Jamie Moneghan comments "Best two teams in world cricket in any format as whenever these two play each other something great always happens!"

      Hear hear. Could not agree more. I'd rather watch a loss to Aus as opposed to yet another win against one of the other "big teams."

      These matches & the SA ODI tour of Aus promise to be really interesting. Both are reassembling their ODI teams, & neither has a well settled line up. Plenty of questions to be asked & answered. It will be really interesting to see who steps up and stakes a claim, on both sides.

    • Greatest_Game on August 27, 2014, 3:13 GMT

      1. Best cricket of all? Watching South Africa beat Australia.

      2. Second best cricket of all? Watching Australia beat South Africa.

      3. Third best cricket? The rest.

    • Greatest_Game on August 27, 2014, 2:56 GMT

      @ Ind.rosh11. You have your wires crossed. The last thing @xtrafalgarx does is "criticise Australian team & players for no reasons." On the contrary, he is one of the best-respected Aussie posters who lurk hereabouts. Like my mate @dunger.bob, he is that rarity - a levelheaded, likable Aussie ;)

      Aus vs SA matches are marked by their unpredictability. Who'd think that any team would smash 434 against a top ranked rival? And, who would think the team that just conceded 434, the most runs in ODI history, would chase it down with 438?

      When you write "Aus will win tomorrow easily because they are better batting & bowling side," it smells of sour grapes! SA has the top 2 ranked ODI batsmen, a rookie keeper already ranked # 8, and 4 top 10 ranked bowlers. That strong batting & bowling recently destroyed India, & won an ODI series in Sri Lanka! That India thrashing really hurt some fans!

      If Aus should lose tomorrow, I do hope you will post an appropriate apology to xtrafalgerx. And to SA.

    • bren19 on August 27, 2014, 2:30 GMT

      @SixFourOut - hitting power is really good when it comes off. It comes off frequently against teams like Zimbabwe. It comes off less often against teams like SA. Quality attacks can rip through 'hitting power' and you can be left wanting a genuine batsman. Don't get me wrong - Maxwell makes my team everytime but he is not as unbeatable when there are quality bowlers at the other end. SA in with a good chance.

    • 2nd_Slip on August 27, 2014, 2:20 GMT

      Practice ODI or not there is nothing more exciting and sweeter than watching my boys thrashing the Ausies in whatever format of cricket. With that said, both these teams bring out the best of each other. Hoping for a cracker of a cricket game.

    • siddhartha87 on August 27, 2014, 1:53 GMT

      3 of top 4 in Warner,Watson and Clarke are missing. Lets see how Aussies does here. Also looking forward to SA pacers vs Maxwell.

    • proteasfire on August 27, 2014, 1:42 GMT

      Whenever there is a match between Australia and South Africa, Aussies have the edge. No doubts on that. Its bcos Aussies have an attacking instinct naturally whereas Proteas go with safety first approach. If SA starts counter attacking then we have a game on. Waiting for Proteas to win all three possible games this time!!

    • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 27, 2014, 0:10 GMT

      Liked look of young Marsh in 1st odi albeit v Zim.Given chance @ 3 did reasonably well with 89.Should be given another go @ 3 v Saffa.Has to better his strike rotation skills.A good test v superior fielding SA unit.Hope to see him do 1 better with a 100.

    • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 26, 2014, 23:53 GMT

      Good contest b/w no.1,2 sides in world in what is a low key series in effect.Both teams will be looking at some top flight practice v real opponents,combinations with WC in mind.But expecting a good contest.Though missing big guns,Aus look hard to beat.

    • neo-galactico on August 26, 2014, 23:26 GMT

      Would like SA to bat second chasing a score between 300-330. They've been poor @ chasing throughout AB captaincy tenure. The Proteas need practice with chasing scores. They have the personnel to do it but when chasing they just come unstuck because of poor execution and collapses which should be a major concern for them. I think AB and Amla's figure chasing attest to that (could be wrong though?).

    • on August 26, 2014, 23:13 GMT

      Nice to see Jane Richardson making her debut.

    • SixFourOut on August 26, 2014, 23:10 GMT

      I don't see how the Saffas can beat Aus. AB is out of form and Aus just has too much hitting power.

    • LoungeChairCritic on August 26, 2014, 23:07 GMT

      It should be a good game. Looking at the South African side they look pretty close to full strength. The Australians best side would have room for Warner, Watson and M Clarke. I think their absences are good for the depth of the Oz team. As both teams are working to the World Cup in Oz/NZ, I think both Tahir and Lyon need the practice and the confidence. I think the Australian batsmen rate themselves against Tahir. Lyon needs to work on his variations if he is going to make a mark in the shorter form of the game. Without them, I think most opposition teams will target him.

    • dunger.bob on August 26, 2014, 22:49 GMT

      No disrespect to Zim. but our Aussie boys should notice a sharp increase in the skill and intensity of the opposition. Just the sort of thing they like. I'm a bit worried about Marsh at 3 but we'll see how he goes.

      @ Ind.rosh11: I've always thought of @xtrafalgarx as something of an elite poster. He's a realist, knows his cricket and doesn't push his national barrow just for the sake of it. .. In other words, he's got a bit of class about him.

    • MaksNZ on August 26, 2014, 22:26 GMT

      Hi Lukiboy where is S. Smith in your team ????

    • mzm149 on August 26, 2014, 19:59 GMT

      "... the two teams will not be going easy on each other as they look to claim early bragging rights ahead of the World Cup."

      South Africa and bragging rights of World Cup? Seems a novel idea.

    • GeoffreysMother on August 26, 2014, 18:57 GMT

      Jane Richardson playing for Australia - now that is a breakthrough in the land of XXXX!

    • on August 26, 2014, 18:31 GMT

      After a long gap, aussies have begun dominantly with the last match show against zimbawe.Although some may feature the weakness of zimbawe rather than Australia's dominance, they were certainly well composed and were very aggressive in the sort of match they own the no. 1 ranking. Mitchell marsh at no.3 was a kind of surprise package in the last match but it worked and I'm very eager to watch how he plays with the mighty bowlings of proteas. Anyway Australian seems to be very clear favourites..HOPE AUSSIES ROCK AGAIN...

    • riverlime on August 26, 2014, 18:30 GMT

      South Africa for the big win. De villiers will smash Faulkner and Johnson to all parts of the ground.

    • crazycric67 on August 26, 2014, 18:18 GMT

      Aussies looks to have an edge over the Proteas. They have a much stronger batting line up than SA. Hope to see a good contest. Good luck both teams.

    • Winsome on August 26, 2014, 18:05 GMT

      Down to the SA bowlers for me. Finch isn't great against top flight stuff and Marsh is an unknown quantity in real terms. Be a good test for the Aussie batting line-up as they are missing big, big names. Wonder where they will bat Smith?

    • on August 26, 2014, 17:48 GMT

      Best two teams in world cricket in any format as whenever these two play each other something great always happens! I wouldn't be surprised if both teams crack 300 and we have a nail biter on our hands. Both teams have some exciting talent on show.

    • TommytuckerSaffa on August 26, 2014, 17:35 GMT

      And so it begins....

      I had a look at the Oz team and I think their batting looks very powerful. Plenty of batsman who are capable of taking the game away from any team. You just have to look at Baileys incredible record in ODIs, then Maxwell coming in to blast it followed by S.Smith who is attacking, classy and bowls good leg breaks.

      Will Johnson be as effective on these flat tracks? Probably not. I think the spinners and medium pacers like Faulkner will do most of the damage. Looking forward to watching Jane Richardson bowl, she could be the one to watch...

    • Kavum on August 26, 2014, 16:44 GMT

      Seems just yesterday when Watto and Warner were indispensable components of an Aussie ODI side. It just emphasises how awesome their bench is that Phil Hughes cannot get a look in and Clarke will not be missed overmuch. They can even play a woman (according to the above article): Jane Richardson, who may be a sister of Kane?? Go the baggies - i.e. the green and golds, not West Brom.

    • lukiboy on August 26, 2014, 16:20 GMT

      My Aus XI for world cup: 1)Finch 2)Warner 3)Watson/M Marsh(at 5/6) 4)Clarke 5)Bailey 6)Maxwell 7)Haddin 8)Faulkner/Stac 9)Johnson 10)Richardson 11)Lyon or other spinner

    • on August 26, 2014, 16:20 GMT

      hope Abbotts plays because at the death his the best on both teams .....will like to see this squad against "the great aussies" 1.hash.2.quinny.3.Ab.4.flaf.5.miller..6duminy...7.maclarin.8.steyn..9.abbot..10.morkel..11.tahir.....this team will really be more balanced with power and skill...finch and maxwell are iffy players I am more worried of bailey and smith those guys are pure batsmen

    • vis0121 on August 26, 2014, 16:04 GMT

      My team for SA tomorrow would be : Amla, De Kock, Faf, AB, JP, Miller, McLaren, Steyn, Abbott, Morkel, Tahir. Batting is good till 7 and don't think we will need more the that and Abbott in for Parnell and we will have a very good bowling unit.i would have liked it if Clark, Warner and Watson where here to play, that would have made it a good contest.

    • JohannK on August 26, 2014, 15:39 GMT

      Much will depend on how well SA bowl. If Aus's big guns get going, SA will struggle. SA has a very good top order (first four, bar Faf perhaps), but a soft middle order - JP at 5, Miller at 6, McLaren at 7. Mmm. Oh how I miss Polly and Klusener. In those days you always had hope even when the top order failed.

    • SICHO on August 26, 2014, 15:35 GMT

      I would like to see Abbott instead of Parnell, Parnell can be devasting in one spell then leak some runs in the other, whereas in Abbott what you see is what you get. He's tight and accurate compared to Parnell who can get two wickets in 4 balls then go for 5.7/6 an over. I know these are just practise matches, but any SA or Aussie fan would be lying if they said they don't pride themselves when beating each other in any competition.

    • india_boy33 on August 26, 2014, 15:18 GMT

      @xtrafalgarx- no wonder mr. you always criticise Australian team & players for no reasons. There is nothing special in this SA side. After reading your comments on other various forums I always feel that you are not satisfied with...(I don't know with what?) Try to be optimistic. Come to the point- Aus will win tomorrow easily because they are better batting & bowling side in comparison of Africans. W/o big names this Oz side is enough for them. Just wait & watch

    • AB_DeVilliers on August 26, 2014, 15:18 GMT

      @thalagune - did you read the same article that I did? If so, I'm not sure where you see any bragging from SA. Unless of course it's sour grapes from of supporter of a team that SA probably beat recently.

      Nevertheless, Aus do seem quite strong, but this line-up has a few weaknesses for me. Johnson batting at 8 is one too high, so their tale is quite long. Lyon got smashed by Zim, and SA won't let him settle. I don't rate him as an ODI bowler.

      Even contest for me. If SA play Phangiso instead of Taahir they will likely loose.

    • ezaad on August 26, 2014, 14:20 GMT

      Out of all the ODI's that are current being played. This match/series are the one Im looking forward to the most. Exciting in your face cricket. Good luck to both teams. #proteafire

    • highveldhillbilly on August 26, 2014, 14:16 GMT

      The Aussies have more fore power but the SA team looks more stable and settled with less all rounders and more specialists. One thing is for sure, no target is safe from this Aussies line up (now add Watson and Warner to this mix in the future - scary!)

    • on August 26, 2014, 14:13 GMT

      I support South Africa, but I don't think they will win. Australia looking in devastating form at the moment. Their first match yesterday was a more crushing win than any of the matches SA beat ZIM at. They only getting started & are playing without Warner & Clarke. SA bowling is strong, but batting is sometimes fragile.

    • onlinegamer55 on August 26, 2014, 14:04 GMT

      Please get Hughes into the team!

    • thalagune on August 26, 2014, 14:00 GMT

      strange that this big bragging south africa has never won any major tournament other than champions tyrophy 1998,never made it into a even a worldcup final...each time during the lead upto worldcups bigbragging and overconfideent but during the tournament failing in key matches...very predictable pattern it has been in the past,yet to see what will happen this time around..

    • Cambo84 on August 26, 2014, 13:57 GMT

      Would like to see Kyle Abbott have a go at the Aussies!

    • sreej on August 26, 2014, 13:52 GMT

      Looking forward to watching "Jane" Richardson bowl. Lol... c'mon Cricinfo!

    • xtrafalgarx on August 26, 2014, 13:45 GMT

      SA look stronger on paper at the moment, given Philander aside, they have their first XI. They also have played a lot more cricket that Australia, who are not only short on match practice but 3 or 4 first choice players in Clarke, Warner, Watson and S. Marsh.

      SA begin favourites, though i'd back AUS to beat them when at full strength.

    • No featured comments at the moment.

    • xtrafalgarx on August 26, 2014, 13:45 GMT

      SA look stronger on paper at the moment, given Philander aside, they have their first XI. They also have played a lot more cricket that Australia, who are not only short on match practice but 3 or 4 first choice players in Clarke, Warner, Watson and S. Marsh.

      SA begin favourites, though i'd back AUS to beat them when at full strength.

    • sreej on August 26, 2014, 13:52 GMT

      Looking forward to watching "Jane" Richardson bowl. Lol... c'mon Cricinfo!

    • Cambo84 on August 26, 2014, 13:57 GMT

      Would like to see Kyle Abbott have a go at the Aussies!

    • thalagune on August 26, 2014, 14:00 GMT

      strange that this big bragging south africa has never won any major tournament other than champions tyrophy 1998,never made it into a even a worldcup final...each time during the lead upto worldcups bigbragging and overconfideent but during the tournament failing in key matches...very predictable pattern it has been in the past,yet to see what will happen this time around..

    • onlinegamer55 on August 26, 2014, 14:04 GMT

      Please get Hughes into the team!

    • on August 26, 2014, 14:13 GMT

      I support South Africa, but I don't think they will win. Australia looking in devastating form at the moment. Their first match yesterday was a more crushing win than any of the matches SA beat ZIM at. They only getting started & are playing without Warner & Clarke. SA bowling is strong, but batting is sometimes fragile.

    • highveldhillbilly on August 26, 2014, 14:16 GMT

      The Aussies have more fore power but the SA team looks more stable and settled with less all rounders and more specialists. One thing is for sure, no target is safe from this Aussies line up (now add Watson and Warner to this mix in the future - scary!)

    • ezaad on August 26, 2014, 14:20 GMT

      Out of all the ODI's that are current being played. This match/series are the one Im looking forward to the most. Exciting in your face cricket. Good luck to both teams. #proteafire

    • AB_DeVilliers on August 26, 2014, 15:18 GMT

      @thalagune - did you read the same article that I did? If so, I'm not sure where you see any bragging from SA. Unless of course it's sour grapes from of supporter of a team that SA probably beat recently.

      Nevertheless, Aus do seem quite strong, but this line-up has a few weaknesses for me. Johnson batting at 8 is one too high, so their tale is quite long. Lyon got smashed by Zim, and SA won't let him settle. I don't rate him as an ODI bowler.

      Even contest for me. If SA play Phangiso instead of Taahir they will likely loose.

    • india_boy33 on August 26, 2014, 15:18 GMT

      @xtrafalgarx- no wonder mr. you always criticise Australian team & players for no reasons. There is nothing special in this SA side. After reading your comments on other various forums I always feel that you are not satisfied with...(I don't know with what?) Try to be optimistic. Come to the point- Aus will win tomorrow easily because they are better batting & bowling side in comparison of Africans. W/o big names this Oz side is enough for them. Just wait & watch