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4th SA v AUS Test Preview – We want to see fight from Australia

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Yes, there is a Test match starting on Friday. You are forgiven if you didn’t know, considering everything that has been going on.

I could have never imagined an Australian Test match without Steve Smith, given how prolific he’s been over the last four or five years. His leadership has come under scrutiny, but he was broken in his press conference, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. So too Cameron Bancroft, who has arguably been Australia’s best batsman in this series. David Warner? I’m not so sympathetic for him, considering reports it was his idea to conduct ball tampering, and throw Bancroft under the bus. Sure, Steve Smith, as captain and leader, should have dealt with things better, but life without Warner would be much better for Australia in my opinion.

Broken relationship: Smith dodged a question about his relationship with Warner.

From an Australian perspective, no matter the result, we’ll be proud of the team if they put up a really good show in Johannesburg. One of my criticisms of the team during and after the Cape Town Test was that they basically gave up, resorting to tampering the ball as a way of trying to get back into the contest. This Test is the perfect opportunity to show us that they can forge a “new identity” as new captain Tim Paine spoke about, and enable the Australian public to think more positively of the team. However, with Mitchell Starc said to be out with injury, it’s going to be even tougher.

For South Africa, they are in a much more relaxed state, but complacency is their biggest threat. Never in their wildest dreams did they think they’d play a Test in this series against a team with no Smith or Warner, unless they were unlucky with injury. In terms of their cricket, they have been absolutely superb since Durban, forcing Australia onto the back foot, and as we know, Australia have not responded well.

South Africa’s top order gave the Australian bowlers a tough time in Cape Town, and will be looking at doing the same against what will surely be a distracted Australian line up. The bowlers will face up against two new opening batsmen, and a line up without Steve Smith, by far Australia’s best batsman. This game is South Africa’s to lose.

Key to a South Africa win

Display the aggressiveness and belief that has got them to this point, to send a great servant in Morne Morkel out as a winner.
Australia still possess quality in their line up, but South Africa are overwhelming favourites. South Africa would even be favourites against a full strength Australia line up, simply because of the cricket they’ve played, and are now in prime position to win Test series against both India and Australia in 2018.
I was particularly impressed with South Africa’s top order in Cape Town. In tricky batting conditions, they dug deep, led especially by the wonderful Dean Elgar, who became just the second player in Test history to carry his bat on three separate occasions. Hashim Amla contributed to two key partnerships, Aiden Markram hit a promising 84 in the second innings, and AB de Villiers again shows he can play forever with two half centuries.
Australia’s best chance of victory is through their bowlers, and if South Africa can nullify this, a 3-1 series win is on the cards, and they can send Morne Morkel out as a winner.
KG – a chance to achieve a record. Keep reading!

Key to an Australia win

I’ll say this now – if Australia win this Test, it will be one of their greatest ever Test wins. When you consider everything going on, this is a fair statement.
How many players would be feeling guilty right now, after seeing Steve Smith break down? Were others involved? Can Darren Lehmann sleep at night, hanging his team out to dry? 
The culture of the Australian cricket team is right in question. It is a massive shame, but one way to put it right is with a strong effort in the fourth Test. I’m not expecting a victory, but I’m hoping for a big team effort. We’ll be proud of the team if they give their best to target the South African batting line up, and hang in there with the bat against a world class bowling attack. It is so interesting to see possibly three players, Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell, play only days after a long flight. In the case of Renshaw and Burns, it was only Tuesday they finished playing the Sheffield Shield Final.

Possible teams:

With Dale Steyn all but out of contention according to media reports, expect South Africa to stick with the same team.
South Africa XI: 1. Dean Elgar, 2. Aiden Markram, 3. Hashim Amla, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. Faf Du Plessis (c), 6. Temba Bavuma, 7. Quinton de Kock (wk), 8. Vernon Philander, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Keshav Maharaj, 11. Morne Morkel
For Australia, Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns will likely open the batting, and Peter Handscomb could slot into the position vacated by Steve Smith. Chadd Sayers will likely make his debut, replacing Mitchell Starc.
Australia XI: 1. Matt Renshaw, 2. Joe Burns, 3. Usman Khawaja, 4. Peter Handscomb, 5. Shaun Marsh, 6. Mitchell Marsh, 7. Tim Paine (c & wk), 8. Patrick Cummins, 9. Chadd Sayers, 10. Nathan Lyon, 11. Josh Hazlewood

Stats & Facts:

  • Three South Africans (AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram) are topping the run scoring charts heading into the fourth Test.
  • If Kagiso Rabada takes ten or more wickets, he will become the highest wicket taker in a four match Test series for South Africa. The current record holder is Makhaya Ntini with 29.
  • If Australia lose this Test, and New Zealand beat England, Australia will drop to fourth in the Test rankings.

Prediction:

The result doesn’t matter for me. I want to see Australia put in a strong performance, and go a long way to improving the perception of the Australian cricket team here in Australia. If they manage to somehow pull of a win, it will be one of their greatest ever, for sure.
Who do I think will win? South Africa. They are settled, and are brimming with confidence. They will send Morne Morkel out on a high.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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