The kingdom for Smith’s wicket
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
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.