The kingdom for Smith’s wicket

    2018-02-28 12:38
    Cape Town - They say there is no longer wait in world sport than for the first ball of the first Test between South Africa and Australia. While that might not be entirely true, you will find enough Proteas fans champing at the bit this week as they wait for Thursday morning.

    The Indian series is now a thing of the past (and thank goodness for that after Virat Kohli’s bat help wallop the hosts in the short formats) as the Proteas move back to their preferred format.

    The first Test has crept up on us all and hopefully in the manic run that was the T20 series against India, the Proteas have forgotten about their frailties which India exposed when they won the dead-rubber at the Wanderers to bring some respectability to the scoreline.

    Australia are one of two sides in the world that will be completely unfazed by the Proteas four-prong pace attack and that is a scary thought.

    The batting line-up is under massive pressure to perform and Kingsmead, which will almost certainly be unplayable for the first hour on Thursday, could further expose those problems. Talk of sub-standard pitches that overshadowed the Indian series is likely to be a non-runner in this series as bat and not ball will be the key in deciding the contest.

    The bowling attacks will neutralise themselves with Australia no novices when it comes to delivering the goods in SA which makes Steve Smith’s wicket almost the lone difference between the sides.

    The bookies have Australia as favourites (1.20/1) but if you are looking at generating some profit out of this fixture then look at the generous 5.5/1 on offer for no player to score a century.

    With rain, bad light and swing on the menu coupled with the hosts lacking any batters in good form, it appears that Mr Smith is the obstacle in the way of a good bet landing and the hosts leaving Durban in good spirits.

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