Cape Town - The top-ranked one day international side and third on the ICC test rankings were just handed their first-ever ODI series whitewash, losing 5-0 to the Proteas, albeit with a slightly inexperienced bowling attack. The 'Baggy Greens' though are a different kettle of fish on their home turf!
But former Proteas spinner and current head coach of the BuildNat Cape Cobras, Paul Adams, believes that the Australians are the team under pressure.
"The pressure is all on them!" Adams told Supersport.com.
Understandably their bowling attack will change as they are trying to get certain players fit to play so Australia is the team under pressure, especially on home soil," added Adams.
The South Africans have certainly enjoyed their last two tours Down Under, winning back-to-back away series, clinching the 2008/9 tour 2-1 when former captain Graeme Smith valiantly walked out to bat at number 11 with a damaged hand in trying to stave off defeat in the final game and then in 2012 when they famously won the final test in Perth by 309 runs to pip the series 1-0 after the first two games were drawn.
With the first test set down for the WACA in Perth from 3 November, Adams said, "that is a good ground to start at considering Australia are under pressure!" The South Africans never having lost a test at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, with two wins and a draw under the belt.
The unknown for the Proteas is the second test, which is being played at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. The South Africans have never played a test match at the ground but do have five ODI's to draw some experience from. The Australians on the other hand have played 12 tests there, winning nine times with just one defeat.
"Hobart is a result-driven pitch but it can be a little bit slow, and I think the seamers do come into play at the ground. But for me it is how the test series starts," said Adams. "But then you have the day/night test where anything can happen," added Adams.
The third and final test takes place at the Adelaide Oval from 24 November where South Africa will play their first ever day/night test with the pink ball. Australia have already tasted pink ball action, having played New Zealand earlier in the year - and won!
"We've seen that as soon as it starts getting dark and the lights come on, the seamers start taking all the wickets and this is where South Africa's seam attack is going to be vitally important.
Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander have taken most of the wickets in the past few years and we've seen when they are not in the attack, South Africa have sort of struggled," stated Adams.
The selectors will also have to put their big thinking caps on when it comes to selection time. Coach Russell Domingo and Co will need to decide whether to bring left-handed opener Dean Elgar back into the side or keep wicket keeper Quinton de Kock at the top of the order.
If Elgar does come back in, De Kock will move down the order leaving a question mark over another left-hander in Rilee Rossouw.
"Rilee is a free-spirit player and he will more than likely come in at six or seven but if Dean comes back in, Quinny will move straight down the order and that leaves no place for Rilee. Those are the questions the selectors will have to answer," said Adams.
"Two years ago I was fortunate enough to tour with him in the South African A side in Australia. He got a 200 and when he gets going he can really take the game forward. It's good for South African cricket to see a Rilee Rossouw firing away," ended Adams.
The South African dream of securing their third-straight series victory on Australian soil will no doubt depend heavily on the form of Hashim Amla, currently third on the ICC test player rankings and captain AB de Villiers as well as Steyn and Philander, who sit second and 10th respectively. But that dream must be given the possible chance with another victory at the WACA in early November.
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