Well I am certinly looking forward to this test match. Although I am supposed to be studying for an exam on Friday, I will still be keeping an eye on the screen to watch some great action. Lets have a run through a couple of things.
There are a couple fo changes to the Aussie line up that will take place, one is that Shaun Marsh will miss out because of his injury and David Warner will take his place. Cummins is said to be coming into the line up but ahead of who I am not sure, the toss up is between Johnson and Siddle. I personally would give Siddle a rest and play Johnson, just for teh mental battle Smith needs to face against this guy. Although he is not at full tilt, I think the pitch and condiditons may aid his bowling, but that is also debateable. So I think the Aussie team will look something like this:
1. Shane Watson
2. Phil Hughes
3. Ricky Ponting
4. Micheal Clarke
5. David Warner
6. Mike Hussey
8. Mitchell Johnson
9. Ryan Harris
10. Pat Cummins
I personally dont see South Africa making any changes. Some may be calling that Lopsy play this one and Philander sit out, because the conditions won’t suit him, but it needs to be said that they are pretty close to each other with regards to pace and swing, and I think Philander may get more out of it. Then again the question arises between Tahir and Harris, and Harris does have more experience etc. and Tahir did not exactly perform in Cape Town, but the pitch did not work for him and also I think he needs to be calmed down a bit, he seemed a bit hatsy and tries too many different deliveries, he needs a stock delivery and then he can pull one or two of the six others in his cavalry out in an over, but to try and bowl a different ball every delivery may be his down fall. Still for me the team stays the same.
The Pitch and Conditions
Wanderers has always played a decent test match, with these 2 teams facing eachother here 10 times and a result coming 8 out of those 10 is pretty impressive. I feel that the Wanderers pitch does offer a little something to bot batsman and bowler. With the rain clouds expected overhead on thursday morning, it may just favour the bowling team for the first couple of hours of play. Friday morning is the same, with rain expected, but a tiny amount that may only really play a part in the morning sessions, and then the sun comin out and making it nice for the batsmen. Sunday, which will be day 4 will see a little more rain and thunder, with thunder showers expecting throughout the day, but knowing Jo’burg, probably only at about 4 pm…
If I look at the ODI played here, I do think that the spinners will play a role, especially from day 3. the pitch in the ODI was slower, but that was a pitch prepared for ODI and not tests. A test pitch will be harder on day one and will suit guys like Steyn and Cummins, but from day 2, Philander and Watson may be the better options.
I think that if we were to win this toss, and remember I have not seen the pitch, so my view might change, I would have a bat first, let Smith and Rudolph see off the new ball and from there it will be a lot easier to bat, then we can look at a good first innings total of around 350 – 400 then this test will be game on. Australia does hold the highest total on this ground with a massive 652/7 which was a first innings total, and they won that test match.
South Africa have faced Australia 10 times on this ground, Winning 3, Losing 5 and Drawing 2.
Players to watch
Ricky is under pressure to score runs here or his place in the side may be a lost. I feel that this guy is a cricket great and to write him off would be naive! He is like a wild dog in a corner, unpredictable, and I think that this test is make or break for him and I think he may just come out all guns firing. I enjo watching him bat and I enjoy it when he makes runs. So now we can just wait and see?
He never came off in the last game, but very few did. I think Hughes can take a game away from you if you are not careful and he will do it with killer accuracy.
This lad has a point to prove! He has been trying to break into the test arena and has said that he does not want to be labelled a T20 player. The man can hit hard and far, but I would be interested to see if he has the patience for test cricket.
Another debutant… I like this kid, he has that X factor, not scared to mix up the pace and also can bang them in there at a scary pace! I think South Africa may try and target him, because his inexperience may be his main weakpoint. Once they get him away a couple of times, he may start to lose focus, this is where Clarke will have to show his strength as captain!
There are 2 reasons I think Smith is a player to watch this game, firstly he is starting to get real form back and I for one would love to see him score another double ton to finally stamp out the nay sayers! but more importantly, although his stance etc. is not text book, I want him to do well! The second reason to watch Smith is in his captaincy, an experience and clever captain, but has never had to captain a guy like Tahir, I want to see Smith taking the reigns with Tahir and getting him to bowl to Smiths game plan and Smith needs to captain this guy! I feel a big one coming for Smith and I feel he deserves to show those who booed him in Jo’burg last time, that he is the BEST!
Altough he did not come off in Cape Town, he looked like he was really focused and hungry for some runs. I think he enjoys bat on ball and the opening day may just be what the doctor ordered for him to get a good 75 or 100 runs. Rudolph can score big runs, but he needs to be reminded that he has all day to score them!
I am not going to say much here. I think the pith may just be perfect for Dale on days 1 and 2, and if Aus take a heavy roller on any of teh other days Steyn may be in for some wickets. There is a reason this guy is number one in the world and I really look forward to him bowling at Wanderers with a high pressure system overhead, that means a little bit of nice outswing for him!!
With an 80% result ratio on this ground between these 2 teams, I think we will have a result in this match. I hope that South Africa can pull that result through and topple the Aussies over, but at the same time I do feel that Australia are still a good side, and although Wallabokiwi says they are a second rate Aussie side, I disagree and think these guys are definately still good.
Here is to 5 days of cricket, not 2 and a half, but 5!!! Lets go boys!!!