Two big teams in World Cricket South Africa and Australia set to play the entertaining four match test series which begins in Durban on Thursday. South Africa who won test series 2-1 against India last month, eye on other test series victory at their home soil in the current season. There are lot of history between these two sides, especially in the longer format. Will Australia overcome South Africa’s challenge? The first test match between South Africa vs Australia is schedule to start at 10 AM Local | 1:30 PM IST on Thursday, 1st March 2018.



The captain Faf du Plessis recovered from the injury and all set to lead team from the front against the mighty Australians. He was sidelined with a finger injury during the ODI and T20I series against India, but he is ready to go now. Along with skipper Faf, Quinton de Kock and star batsman AB de Villiers also regained their full fitness and came back to the squad. After that very impressive show against India, wicket keeper batsman Heinrich Klaasen had earned a maiden call-up to the test squad. The young Willem Mulder is the other player who earned a call-up to the test team. On the eve of the match, skipper Faf du Plessis confirmed that Temba Bavuma is not recovered fully from a hand injury, therefore he is not available for the selection. Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram are South Africa’s regular test openers in this home season and they will open the innings against Australia too. Elgar had played some important knocks against India, especially in that last test in Johannesburg. On other side, Aiden Markram also played a good hand in the first half of test series against India. But, he wasn’t at his best in a second half of that series. The classic batsman Hashim Amla used to bat at no. 3 in tests and he will play the similar role in this match too. Amla struggled to score big runs against India in the ODIs, but he would be back with a big innings in the longer format. After shown lot of characters in a tests against India, star player AB de Villiers has a role to play once again and he has to fulfill as lot of expectations on him right now.

Heinrich Klaasen’s stunning performances in the limited overs format brought him to test squad. But, based on seniority and experiences Quinton de Kock will earn the place in the XI. He is under tremendous pressure, if he is not doing well in this test – might lose his place to Klaasen later in the series. With an extra batsman Theunis de Bruyn and newcomer Willem Mulder, South Africa yet to decide on their playing combination. If they strict to go with 6 batsmen then Theunis de Bruyn will misses out from the XI. The bowling all-rounder Vernon Philander did a great job with the bat in the series against India, he will probably takes a place at no. 7 once again. He was very good with a bowl and claimed 15 wickets in 3 tests against India. He is expected to offer the similar all-round show in this game too. Durban is the home ground for left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and he always does well at this venue. So, we could expect a big match-winning efforts from him for next 5 days. The senior pacer Morne Morkel has announced his retirement from Tests and ODIs after this Australia tests. Morkel had an excellent test series against India with 13 wickets. He will be the key aspect against Aussies batting unit. The bowling sensation Kagiso Rabada is back in the squad after rested for recent T20I series. He had taken 15 wickets in 3 tests against India and he is the bowling trump card for South Africa. Lungi Ngidi who made his test debut against India, claimed 9 wickets in 2 tests and also rewarded with man of the match award for his match-winning spell of 6 for 39 in Centurion. He is expect to keep his place in the XI.



After reclaimed the Ashes by 4-1 victories at home, Steven Smith and his men are ready to play their first away test series in 6 months. The captain Steven Smith has already confirmed Australia’s playing XI for this match. Australia decided to go with the same XI which took field against England in the final test in January. That means, wicket keeper batsman Peter Handscomb, Jon Holland, Chadd Sayers and Jhye Richardson will warm the bench in Durban. Cameron Bancroft who just had an average series against England with 179 runs in 8 innings, retains his place at opening spot for the Durban test. After the Ashes, Bancroft had a very good time in Big Bash League and smashed three half-centuries in 5 innings. He should play well to cement his place in the XI, otherwise he will be throw out soon. The experienced David Warner just regained his form at right time with a back-to-back good knocks in the T20I tri-series recently. Warner is an asset of Australia at top order and the team expects a very big knocks from him. The top-order batsman Usman Khawaja managed to hit two half-centuries in first four Ashes test which were under average for his standards. But, the left-hander finished that series on very high note with a match-winning 171 runs. He used to play better cricket in away matches, hopefully will come with good performances in this test.

Skipper Steven Smith is the no. 1 test batsman in the world and he has to prove his value in this away series. Smith had played a several top knocks against England at home, now he has to dominate South Africa to earn victories for his team. Marsh Brothers Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh occupies Aussies middle-order. Shaun was at his best during the Ashes and scored two half-centuries and two big tons. Mitch Marsh was out of action for 9 months due to an injury but he made his return with mighty 181 runs knock against England in December. The all-rounder has a huge role to play in this series with both bat and bowl. Tim Paine will continue with wicket-keeper’s duty and also with bat at lower middle-order. Nathon Lyon is the only specialist spinner in the side and the nature of Durban track will help the off-spinner in a huge way. Australia set to go with their three front-line pacers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. All three of them had a memorable Ashes season back at home. The major key point Mitchell Starc had claimed 22 wickets in 4 tests against England. He will the biggest threat for South Africa batsmen on this tour. Pat Cummins had played a very big supportive role with 23 wickets in 5 test matches against England during home summer, now has much bigger role to play against South Africa. The other major bowler Josh Hazlewood had picked 21 scalps against England during the Ashes, will be a key in this test match as South Africa conditions favors him a lot.




  • Aiden Markram
  • AB de Villiers
  • Faf du Plessis
  • Vernon Philander
  • Keshav Maharaj
  • Kagiso Rabada

Top Pick – Hashim Amla



  • David Warner
  • Usman Khawaja
  • Mitch Marsh
  • Nathan Lyon
  • Mitchell Starc
  • Josh Hazlewood

Top Pick – Steven Smith




1. Dean Elgar, 2. Aiden Markram, 3. Hashim Amla, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. Faf du Plessis, 6. Quinton de Kock, 7. Vernon Philander, 8. Willem Mulder / Lungi Ngidi, 9. Keshav Maharaj, 10. Kagiso Rabada, 11. Morne Morkel.

AUSTRALIA  (Playing XI) :

1. Cameron Bancroft, 2. David Warner, 3. Usman Khawaja, 4. Steven Smith, 5. Shaun Marsh, 6. Mitch Marsh, 7. Tim Paine, 8. Mitchell Starc, 9. Pat Cummins, 10. Nathan Lyon, 11. Josh Hazlewood.




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