South Africa will aim to script a historic home series victory over Australia when the two sides will meet in the series-deciding third and final Test in Cape Town on Saturday.
South Africa have never won a home and away Test series against Australia since their readmission to Test cricket in 1991 and this is a golden opportunity for them to achieve the feat.
After being annihilated by 281 runs in the first Test in Centurion, Proteas bounced back daringly to register a 231-run victory in the second Test on the penultimate day at Port Elizabeth.
|What: South Africa vs Australia 3rd Test||When: March 1-4, 2014|
|Time: 10:30 local | 08:30 GMT | 13:30 PKT||Venue: Newlands, Cape Town|
|Live Streaming: Sky Sports 2|
Post-isolation, South Africa have won 18 of 26 Tests at Newlands and lost just three, all against Australia. If they win in Cape Town it will be their first series victory over Australia on their own backyard since 1970. Since their readmission, South Africa have lost four and drawn two series against Australia.
Proteas’ gigantic victory at Port Elizabeth was demeaned by David Warner’s allegations of ball-tempering on the hosts in Port Elizabeth. Warner accused wicketkeeper AB de Villiers of tinkering with the ball to provoke reverse swing in the uncooperative conditions. Warner was subsequently fined 15% match fee after he pleaded guilty of making inappropriate remarks.
The home side’s victory in Port Elizabeth was largely build around the centuries of De Villers and Hashim Amla. Spearheaded by paceman Mitchell Johnson, who produced his career-best 12-wicket haul in Centurion to deliver Australia an emphatic win, Australian bowling attack struggled to thwart the rival batsmen.
South Africa are expected to make a couple of changes to their line-up. Kyle Abbott likely is to replace paceman Wayne Parnell, who has been ruled out of the contest after sustaining groin strain. Abbott, who made his debut against Pakistan a year ago, has been in exceptional form at domestic level as he bagged 12 wickets last First Class match for Dolphins.
Opening batsman Alviro Petersen, who missed the Port Elizabeth Test due to illness, is set to return and Dean Elgar, who played a crucial innings of 83 in second Test while opening the innings alongside skipper Graeme Smith, will drop down the order to number 6 or 7.
Australia might have suffered defeats in their last two Tests in Cape Town but prior to that enjoyed an exceptional record there, winning nine of the 10 Tests at the ground (before and after South Africa’s readmission). If Australia manages a victory or draw here, they will finish No.2 in Test rankings but third if they are beaten.
Shane Watson, who missed the first two Tests with a calf injury, is likely to return to Australian squad for the series decider. Alex Doolan is expected to retain his spot in team which means Shaun Marsh will continue to stay on sidelines. With Ryan Harris struggling to make impact in Port Elizabeth, James Pattinson could be included to bolster the pace attack.
Graeme Smith (Captain), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (Wicketkeeper), JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Ryan McLaren, Alviro Petersen, Kyle Abbott, Rory Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander.
Michael Clarke (Captain), Brad Haddin (Wicketkeeper), Jackson Bird, Ryan Harris, Moises Henriques, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Johnson, James Faulkner, Alex Doolan, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, David Warner, Shane Watson, Steve Smith.