Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preview, 2nd Test, South Africa versus Australia, Johannesburg.

Australia-Down or Out?


Forgetting has been the catch cry from the Australian camp in the wake of the Capetown misadventure. Which might be able to be done for the Aussies, but by the same token, do you think the South Africa players will allow this to be the case in this Test?

In my mind, after all the suffering that the South Africans have felt at the hands of the Aussies since their readmission into the game. In their minds, they will view this Test, after the events of Capetown to be reminiscent of Aussie blood having been spilt into a South African shark tank for them to feed on.

For those who have witnessed sharks feed.....well the same frenzied dismembering could be shown to Australia in this game

South Africa

Likely Team

The only real criticism of the performance in Capetown was the teams abject performance with both bat and ball in the first innings. So forgotten with how brutally good they were in the 2nd innings.

Duly there will be no changes

Graeme Smith (capt),  Jacques Rudolph,  Hashim Amla,  Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers,  Ashwell Prince,  Mark Boucher (wk),  Vernon Philander,  Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel,  Imran Tahir.

The Keys to Winning the Test

Talk in any form of life is cheap, and with this in mind, no matter how many times the Aussies say they have recovered from the mental scars from Capetown. It needs to be South Africa's main priority to keep their collective feet on Australia's throat. Making them know that the result from Capetown wasn't a freak result, but rather an honest depiction of the difference between the two sides.

The Aussie batting line up is a bit like a puddle from a Summer rain shower that in the face of any heat is so easily evaporated away. The South African bowling line up not only has heat, but the scorching variety. Their job has been made easier with one of the few Aussie batsmen with a bit of ticker in Shaun Marsh missing this match.

You can be near certain the South African bowling will pave the way for victory, and the only potential stumbling block for the hosts is if their batting struggles. Only irresponsible batting will facilitate this. For Australia has a few handy bowlers in most notably Ryan Harris and Shane Watson, but the weak points in their attack means any batting line up worth its salt will excel

Due to the fact, you only have to see off Harris and Watson, and then feast on the rest.

Be 100% in their performance, and they will win with a leg in the air.........

Australia

Likely Team

After the Capetown meltdown, you could justify making up to 6 changes with players dropped and moved in the line up. All of Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin should be dropped, but all will likely be retained. Which more than emphasises the craven weakness of the current line up with it carrying so many fragile players. Shane Watson needs to be moved to 6 in the line up, but again will stay at the top. Then Nathan Lyon has potential though is a fair way off being Test class at present.

Sadly for the Team, a very adequate young batsman in Shaun Marsh will be replaced by one lacking Test calibre at present in Usman Khawaja. Also a young bowler in Pat Cummins with so much hype about him due to his pace will be included-which is a bit of a head scratcher. For his selection has been facilitated by his form in T20 cricket, rather than in First Class Cricket- where he averages over 45 for every wicket.

So, excuse my sarcasm, but thumbs up for that wisdom! For we all know that success in T20 Cricket has such relevance to the Test arena!

I must say on watching him in the Sheffield Shield Final this year, I was hardly impressed by anything in his arsenal, aside from his pace. So good luck to the lad, but if success in the game was dependant on pace, then Devon Malcolm would be on a plateau with Glenn McGrath

This will be the Team:

Hughes, Watson, Khawaja, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Cummins, Lyon

The Keys for Australia Winning the Test

I cannot see a way of Australia winning this Test with the side they are likely to pick.

Though, by the fact that sport is full of shocking results lets look at how they can.

The key to this is through the bowling being able to support its Swiss cheese like batting through them lording it over the South African batting

This will involve Ryan Harris being the type of devastating bowler we know he can be. Then Shane Watson also retaining his excellent bowling form.

If by a freak of Nature, Mitchell Johnson was anything but the poster child for batsmen in World cricket with his Father Christmas gift laden rubbish bowling. Then this could happen.

In the face of the bowling line up devastating the South African batting it will allow the batting line up to try to excel with the absence of pressure.

Which has merit, but a top three contain Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, and a Test greenhorn in Usman Khawaja. It will be a huge shock if it contributes anything meaningful against the brutal South African attack.

Duly the batting will have to be propped up by the veterans in the line up in Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey. You would have a reasonable confidence in Clarke and Hussey to be factor, but with all due respect to Ricky Ponting's remarkable career. He is a shadow of the player he once was, and should retire

A batting line up being carried by two players is a recipe in any game, but against a Team with bowling as strong as South Africa's. It is cataclysmic!

Prediction:

Unless it rains for most of the match, which is sadly forecast.

South Africa will win, and more than likely comprehensively by an innings.

Also, I think we might see Ricky Ponting retire after this game

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