If you thought the India-Australia test series early in 2017 was heated, this current feud between fierce rivals South Africa & Australia has already reached a whole new level, and we’re not even halfway through the series yet!
Viewed as one of the hardest places in the world to tour when it comes to test cricket, South Africa couldn’t live up to that reputation in Durban as they suffered a 118-run defeat in front of their home crowd. Maybe Quinton de Kock’s antics directed at David Warner was a ploy to throw a spanner in the works & shakeup the Australians, what couldn’t be disturbed was the visitors hunger to win on the field as their bowlers toiled away until the sun set on the final result of the match. Usually so successful at home, South Africa had major problems with the bat in Durban with the likes of Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis kept quiet in both innings as it was left to Aiden Markram, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock to pick up the pieces. As impressive as 23-year-old Markram was for the Proteas, it’s AB de Villiers who holds the key to his teams success in this second test. It’s a well known fact that he just about utilizes every part of the ground when batting, hence the nickname “Mr 360”, but it’s his dynamic fielding that constantly keeps South Africa in the game as well. Skipper Faf du Plessis also needs to rise for the occasion, his last outing against India in Johannesburg was a shocker so he needs to find some form pronto. off-spinner Keshav Maharaj was brilliant in the first test with the ball, although that depends on how you look at it. The 28-year-old was made to work for his wickets, and he did just that bowling a total of 63.2 overs ending with match figures of 9/225. The fast bowling cartel really need to step it up a notch in this next game, they were nowhere near as damaging as Mitchell Starc who changed the coarse of the match in that first innings.
They’ve got South Africa on the back foot heading into Port Elizabeth, this is Australia’s best opportunity to pounce on the Proteas after such a shocking loss, but by no means will it come easily. As embarrassed as they would be, at the same time South Africa would be fuming with pure anger after what took place in the final days of the Durban test. After Cameron Bancroft redeemed himself in the second innings with an impressive fifty as Australia looked to build a solid lead, it was Usman Khawaja who seemed to struggle the most out of all the Aussie batsmen. Batting at No. 3 is a huge responsibility, but it’s just as much an opportunity as a responsibility to show the critics why you’re in the team, and that’s what Khawaja has to remember. Apart from that, the Aussies had a long list of contributors with the bat in the first test which was promising to see. You can almost sense that Steve Smith’s next big test score is just around the corner, he had an Ashes series to remember and now has the opportunity to take down a team that is arguably the biggest scalp in world cricket when it comes to touring. Much of the credit for the Aussies win has to go to arguably the world’s best fast bowler Mitchell Starc, it was the type of performance that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It took Starc just 10.4 overs to infiltrate some serious damage, proving to hot to handle for the Proteas as he finished with 5/34, then later on went to take another four wickets in the second innings. Everyone contributed with the ball at some stage in the match, Nathan Lyon claimed three wickets in the first innings and Josh Hazlewood also chipped in with three scalps in South Africa’s second innings. Pat Cummins managed just the one wicket in each innings, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is where his International career kicked off with a bang…
Top 5 fantasy picks | South Africa | 2nd test | Port Elizabeth
- Kagiso Rabada
- AB de Villiers
- Aiden Markram
- Keshav Maharaj
- Vernon Philander
Wildcard pick – Theunis de Bruyn
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 2nd test | Port Elizabeth
- Mitchell Starc
- Steve Smith
- Nathan Lyon
- Shaun Marsh
- Pat Cummins
Wildcard pick – Usman Khawaja
South Africa (possible) – 1. Dean Elgar 2. Aiden Markram 3. Hashim Amla 4. AB de Villiers 5. Faf du Plessis (c) 6. Theunis de Bruyn 7. Quinton de Kock (wk) 8. Vernon Philander 9. Keshav Maharaj 10. Kagiso Rabada 11. Morne Morkel.
Australia (possible) – 1. Cameron Bancroft 2. David Warner 3. Usman Khawaja 4. Steve Smith (c) 5. Shaun Marsh 6. Mitchell Marsh 7. Tim Paine (wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Nathan Lyon 11. Josh Hazlewood.
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.