Australia will be banking on their bowling attack to hurt the South African batsmen once again as the two sides are set to battle it out in the second Test match to be held at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
A lot of focus will be on tempers that needed to be curbed after it took away the shine of the first Test four days ago which the visitors won by an emphatic 118 runs. The result saw Australia bank on their dominance on Australian soil and extend their run. Therefore Faf du Plessis’ side will be eager to stop the Aussie carnage and aggression by providing a fight.
The major fight for the Proteas skipper is to have his bowlers keep the Australian tail at bay besides showing a better resistance against the Aussie bowlers. Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon have only played in five Tests together and the Aussies have won all of them.
We’re just one day away from the 2nd #SunfoilTest & the Proteas are all smiles ahead of the big clash v Australia. Tickets are selling fast so get yours at https://t.co/vfUj3KvAY6. If you’re not near PE, catch all the live action on SS2, SABC 3 & Radio 2000 #ProteaFire #SAvAUS pic.twitter.com/oi70iO0KPG
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 8, 2018
- In six of the 10 innings against Australia’s present core attack, the opposition England and Proteas have failed to pass 233 on six occasions.
- Both teams have faced each other 95 times in the history of Test cricket with the Aussies winning 52 of them and South Africa claiming 23.
- Australia need two more Test wins to go above South Africa in the ICC Test Rankings.
- South Africa lost 5-12 and 5-15 to close out each innings in Durban.
Team news and selection
South Africa need their batsmen to come good after a poor run of form off late. Only Aiden Markram got a century in the last Test with AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock scoring a fifty each over two innings. The rest of the line-up needs to step up and show resistance against an in-form Aussie attack.
Skipper Faf de Plessis has cited that the Test match is a big occasion for them and they need to stick together and come good. It will be huge factor in terms of character for the Proteas. They need to come out strong. A lot of focus will be on Quinton de Kock after the tunnel altercation incident with David Warner on Day Four of the 1st Test.
They might go in with the same team and will hope the bowlers continue doing the job for them. Keshav Maharaj excelled in Durban and will be looking to continue his job in a positive manner. The pace trio of Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander need to come out on top.
The Aussies are on a roll at the moment especially after dismantling England in the Ashes 2017-18. And that confidence followed in the 1st Test at Durban. Steve Smith’s side has done everything right so far in terms of delivering the goods.
With their on and off the field aggression and spats, a bit of shine has been taken off. This in turn had earlier put their vice-captain Warner’s participation in doubt, for the traded barbs shared with the Proteas wicketkeeper. Warner faced a level two charge but is set to feature in the 2nd Test.
He is although a demerit point away from being suspended and therefore needs to be on his best behaviour. Australia are going with the same XI. The Marsh brothers Shaun and Mitchell have stood tall and Steve Smith as usual has been scoring a bulk of runs. Their bowling needs nothing new with each bowler knowing the role he has to suffice with.
Pitch and conditions
The pitch is expected to be somewhat slow and low and be quite similar to the Kingsmead in Durban. Spin and reverse swing are likely to play a big part. However there is cheer for the fans with no rain is forecast for the match.
Likely Playing XI
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (capt), Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.
Australia: Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.
Timing and Tv listing
The 2nd Test will start at 1:30 pm IST. Match to be telecasted on Sony Espn