Proteas seek to end Oz hoodoo

2014-02-27 14:29

Cape Town - Graeme Smith's South Africa will seek to cross what has become the final frontier for the country's Test squad when they take on Australia in the series-deciding third and final Test at Newlands from Saturday.

Since returning to international cricket in 1991, South Africa have beaten every other Test nation except Australia in home and away series.

Smith has twice led South Africa to triumphs in Australia but a home series win has eluded Smith and his predecessors. In six previous tours by Australia going back to 1993/94 the visitors have been victors four times with two series shared.

It seemed the sequence would continue when a Mitchell Johnson-inspired Australia won the first Test of the current series by 281 runs at Centurion - but world champions South Africa bounced back in emphatic style with a 231-run win in Port Elizabeth last weekend.

It has set up a showdown which has ignited local interest, with capacity crowds expected on the first two days.

Now the hosts have an opportunity to clinch the series at a ground which has been a fortress for South Africa, who have won 18 of 26 post-isolation Tests at Newlands, with only three defeats - all against Australia.

But South Africa have been unbeaten at Newlands since 2005/06 and have twice beaten Australia in a sequence of eight wins and two draws since then.

South Africa are expected to make two significant changes to their team.

Opening batsman Alviro Petersen, who withdrew from the second Test because of illness, is set to return despite his replacement Dean Elgar playing a crucial innings of 83 in Port Elizabeth. Elgar is likely to drop down the order to number six or seven.

It means the South African innings will be launched by two men who are short of runs. Petersen was out for two and one at Centurion while Smith has scored only 37 runs in four innings.

With left-arm fast-medium bowler Wayne Parnell ruled out with a groin injury, South Africa have to decide whether to pick all-rounder Ryan McLaren, who suffered concussion when struck by a bouncer from Johnson in Centurion, or a specialist bowler.

One player who seems certain to miss out is Robin Peterson, the only specialist spinner in the squad, after coach Russell Domingo said he was happy with the role played by part-time spinners JP Duminy and Elgar.

That leaves seamers Rory Kleinveldt and Kyle Abbott vying with fellow right-armer McLaren for the final place in the eleven.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann gave his squad three days off after the second Test loss, although captain Michael Clarke was seen working in the nets in an effort to regain his batting form.

Subject to fitness, all-rounder Shane Watson is set for a recall in place of either Alex Doolan or Shaun Marsh after missing the first two Tests because of a calf injury.

When the two teams last met at Newlands in November 2011, South Africa were bowled out for 96 and Australia for 47 on a freakish second day during which 23 wickets fell.

Groundsman Evan Flint said a recurrence of 2011 was unlikely. He said an unusually high water table shortly after the end of a wet Cape winter had made the pitch more bowler-friendly than usual.

With the match coming towards the end of summer in the Cape dry season, Flint said he expected a pitch which would offer some help to the bowlers in the mornings but would generally be good for batting.


South Africa (likely): Graeme Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (wkt), JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Ryan McLaren or Rory Kleinveldt or Kyle Abbott, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.

Australia (likely): Michael Clarke (captain), Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Alex Doolan or Shaun Marsh, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)

TV umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)


  • Craig 'Jumbo' Edmondson - 2014-02-27 14:52

    Toss is going to be crucial in this game, anyone got a double headed coin for Biff.

  • Simphiwe Masimula - 2014-02-27 15:56

    Drop Abott we loose!!!If Peterson comes in should produce what we expert and stop being nervous!!

  • Paul Vuma - 2014-02-27 16:16

    Abbott and Philander will do well in Newlands, quality seem bowlers!

  • Ralf Foley - 2014-02-27 16:19

    Abbot took 9 wkts in his only test. Why would we even consider playing Kleinveldt or McLaren? We must have the worst bunch of selectors in world cricket. I include coach Domingo here, as he is one of the selectors. It puts us at real disadvantage to the rest of the world. Imagine how good we could be without these bunch of idiots selecting the team.

      Martin De Jager - 2014-02-27 20:10

      That's what I thought but I have to say they got it spot on in the last test selection wise. I just hope they do it again, except for picking Abbott. No point changing a winning team.

  • Ulrich Dannecker - 2014-02-27 19:14

    How envious I am of all the people who can watch the Newlands Test live. I am in England, too far away and too expensive to travel. Thanks to Sky TV I will watch every moment.

  • Martin De Jager - 2014-02-27 20:06

    I back the Proteas. There is a first time for everything. Even if Johnson got another 5 for on a better wicket, if Morkel bowled anything like he bowled in the first innings of the previous test, we will just cancel them out. After Johnson the rest of their attack has nothing to offer, whereas SA bowl as a unit with different skill sets.

  • Baainaar Hofman - 2014-02-27 21:28

    So the white quotas could never do it wow wow wow come on big vern bowl them boy!

  • David Tsele - 2014-02-28 10:38

    Is there a particular reason y this particular Test starts on a saterday? In all the 16yrs or so of Test watching I dnt rememba a particular test that started so late into the week. Surely the 2nd(saterday), 3rd(sunday) and 4th(monday) r the most important days in terms of shaping up how the test would go. Should we nt atleast capitalise on a weekend particularly for gatekeeping

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