Thursday, November 29, 2012

Preview, Australia versus South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth

The touting of the Perth Test as being a 'Grand Final' is a fitting analogy with there being so many talking points fuelled by 'if, buts and maybes'. Add to the mix the last game for a true icon in Ricky Ponting and all the ingredients are there to be stirred into an absolute humdinger of a finale.


Lets start the stirring then...........

The Adelaide Legacy

You cannot focus on this game without looking into the effects that the titanic Adelaide 2nd Test will have on it from a mental and physical viewpoint. Firstly on the mental side of things, you have two sides of the coin with Australia leaving Adelaide with a draw after a win seemed certain. On the flip side, RSA had their collective heads in the hangman's noose only to some how get a miraculous reprieve. In the process knowing it took all the best shots from all the Aussies leaving them battered, bruised, but still standing....

Conclusively, the Aussies had to deal with the reality that they could not take the South Africans out either which must cloud and burden there minds entering this games. 
Adding to the Cross for the Aussies to bear was the physical cost of things with them losing all their starting fast bowling unit for this game with James Pattinson injured and both Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle over looked because of them being pummelled by their work load. 

If the Aussies leave out Nathan Lyon as expected they will enter with an attack that has not taken one wicket in the series.

South Africa had their tale too with it being the Cloud 9 type that accompanies an awe inspiring result from a game when defeat seemed its only reality. Keeping the corks in their Champagne bottles was an injury to Jacques Kallis that has him in doubt for this Test...


The Teams

Australia 

The Word coming out of Perth is that Australia will pick an all pace attack with Nathan Lyon being overlooked. Which is harsh on Lyon, and somewhat near sighted when the returning Shane Watson has declared he is fit to bowl. Add to that, Watson's calibre as a bowler and you can see the sense in selecting Lyon even if he is used just as a defensive bowler to allow the pace men to bowl in short sharp spells.

Likely Team

Warner, Cowan, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Husey, Wade, Hastings, Johnson, Hazelwood, Starc


South Africa 

Kallis is the big worry going into this match, but even if he is on one leg it is hard to see him missing. The team will be boosted by the return of Vernon Philander from a knee niggle. Then it seems likely that Robin Petersen will replace 'Bryce McGain#2' in Imran Tahir and Jacques Rudolph seems likely to get the chop with Dean Elgar likely to take his spot

Leaving the Team as follows

Smith, A Petersen, Amla, Kallis, DeVilliers, Elgar, DuPlessis, Steyn, Philander,R Petersen, Morkel


The Keys To Win

Australia


The biggest question for the Aussies is will they be able to get 20 wickets with a revamped attack after losing such quality and grit from the previous Test

It seems they have pinned their hope on Mitchell Johnson being the awe inspiring bowler he was 4 years ago rather than the God damned awful one of recent times. Backing his Selection was his noted pedigree at the WACA ground where he averages 18.13 with 30 wickets. Including demolishing a similar South African line up a few years back


If his selection was backed by form to justify it you could believe in him being a factor, but he has averaged just under 30 in the Sheffield Shield this year

So the Australian Selectors might be praying for a fairytale return for Jono, but do not be surprised if it is greeted with a sad ending.

Even from a balance point of view, he is an absolute dead ringer for Mitchell Starc in every regard. So where is the sense in have two out and out attacking left arm quicks that can be devastating as well as leak runs majorly....

Starc is a good inclusion, and should have been in the team all Season with him impressing all with his pace and swing. Also with Shane Watson declaring he is fit to bowl he represents a huge Ace up the Aussies sleeve with him being a very accomplish medium quick who has a PHD in Irish Swing.


If the Aussies were ballsy in their Selections Watson would also strengthen their batting if he was moved away from the new ball to bat at 5. Then Michael 'Bradman' Clarke sealing his Legend by moving up to three and dealing with one of the teams hugest issues in the fragility of their top 3

It seems unlikely to happen meaning the trio of Warner, Cowan and Watson who have showed glimpses of real calibre will have to add consistency to deal with this pressing issue.

Lastly, Matthew Wade needs to start pulling his socks up behind the stumps with him looking less than stellar and costing Australia big in the Adelaide heart ache


South Africa

Most scribes during this series have said South Africa have just have to play to their potential to win

But after watching them during this series you have to question what that potential is with then drifting between brilliant, ok , dreadful and every thing in between.

This after then having us all in awe with them comprehensively achieving what many thought as nigh on impossible in beating England in England we thought they would rule for a long while.

Herein lies the golden rule in Sport in regards to you are only as good as your last game with South Africa being very average throughout

To win this game and series they need a lift from all but most notably their leaders. All of Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and A.B.DeVilliers have shown their class on occasion but not on a consistent level for the Team to achieve success.

Meaning the success of the batting has relied mainly on Kallis with the similar burden on Morne Morkel for the bowlings success. Morkel has taken half of the wickets taken by the Team in the series which points a finger squarely at the other individuals in the attack who are under performing.

The combination of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander have a combined series figure of 346/4


Simply not good enough from names as lauded as those and they need to pull their collective fingers out!

The batting is a mirror image with 4 of the top 6 from the last Test all averaging under 40 for the series with only the remarkable debut of Faf Du Plessis saving them from being put in the firing zone

Alviro Petersen has given his wicket away too cheaply on too many occasions with his bizarre run out from the last Test indicating he struggles with the demands needed in terms of 100% concentration  


Then are we sick of all the excuses being given for A.B.Devilliers recent failures?

Keeping might have robbed him of some of his batting calibre, but he has gone from being on the verge of budding Mastery to looking like he is in pool with people trying to decide whether to jump in to save him

Lets see if the South Africans are merely great on paper or can indeed lift and show us again that they are stellar in reality too

Prediction 

Come on Aussies!

Win it for Punta!


As for Punta, I feel a farewell century being scored here 

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