This highly anticipated test series is expected to kick off Australia’s summer of cricket in style, with the first of three matches being played in Perth. Known for it’s pace and bounce, the WACA pitch can be a nightmare to bat on against the new ball and late in the game which supplies an even contest between bat and ball. Having said that, last years test against New Zealand turned out to be a batsmen’s paradise with both sides producing totals of 559 and 624 in the first innings. With the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada for the South Africans and the dynamic duo of Mitchell Starc & Josh Hazlewood for the Australians, we might not see totals as extravagant as last years.
Dale Steyn v David Warner
This may just be the most heated match-up you’ll see in the series, especially given that both players have a very aggressive approach towards the game. There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain bowling to a player like David Warner, anything to full or just short of a length will be dispatched, but Warner is vulnerable in one particular area. Steyn is a class above who can execute the perfect line and length 9/10 times, and if he can hit that line of just short of a good length angling into the left hander, he might get a result if he stays persistent. The Dale Steyn stare against a cheeky David Warner who gets in your ear, who do you fancy?
Mitchell Starc v Hashim Amla
This would have to be the most anticipated match-up in the game, you’re pretty much looking at one of the most consistent batsmen in the history of South African cricket up against a bowler who’s wicket taking ability is second to none. Amazingly, Amla’s batting average against Australia is actually higher then his career average by .04. Given the pitch they’re playing on, the contest couldn’t be anymore even, although Starc is returning from a horrific injury which could gift Amla some freebies early. Having played just 28 tests, we’ve seen what Starc can do with the new ball and it’s not a pretty sight if you’re caught in two minds as a batsmen.
Nathan Lyon v Quinton de Kock
Coming off back-to-back half centuries against New Zealand in the final test and scoring 122 & 99 in the warm-up matches, it’s clear that Quinton de Kock is going to play a huge role for the South Africans with his move down the order. To combat de Kock’s powerful striking ability is Australia’s off-spinner Nathan Lyon, the man who has got the job done so often for his country. With the 23-year-old’s move down the order, that allows his top/middle order to build a foundation for de Kock to play a free hand when he comes in. With de Kock’s aggression towards the spinners, Lyon is a perfect option given his ability to beat batsmen in the flight which brings stumpings and catches into play.
Probable Starting XI’s
Australia- 1. David Warner 2. Shaun Marsh 3. Usman Khawaja 4. Steve Smith (c) 5. Adam Voges 6. Mitchell Marsh 7. Peter Nevill (wk) 8. Peter Siddle 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Josh Hazlewood 11. Nathan Lyon.
South Africa- 1. Stephen Cook 2. Dean Elgar 3. Hashim Amla 4. Faf du Plessis (c) 5. Rilee Rossouw/Temba Bavuma 6. JP Duminy 7. Quinton de Kock (wk) 8. Vernon Philander/Kagiso Rabada 9. Dale Steyn 10. Morne Morkel 11. Tabraiz Shamsi/Keshav Maharaj.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.