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Australia have won the toss and have opted to bat
The enigmatic nature of this contest makes the word riveting an understatement for the first encounter of this long 4-match Test series. Cricket Betting Tips The numbers in South Africa clearly support Australia and vice versa (How often do you get to say that?). Therefore, it is a given that our ever-so-lively comm-room is – ummm – buzzing with excitement 😛 (my apologies, had some bad influence off late). Cricket Betting Tips Free In the midst of fervent speculation and biased predictions, this is Rishi Roy currently piloting our well-nigh-live coverage along with Sagar Chawla, Akshay Maanay and a
#proudlySouthAfrican fan Shashikant Singh. We’ll be back with the toss and teams as soon as they happen. Cbtf Tips While we wait, you can tweet away @_rrroy_ (Rishi Roy) and @shashi_CB and we’ll respond to as many of you as we can…
Pitch whispers: The Kingsmead track in Durban has historically been on the slower side. Just as well – Durban has the highest population of Indians outside of India. Cbtf Cricket Fitting, no? *wink wink*. Amidst all the speculation about these two sides loaded with heavy run-scorers and menacing fast bowlers, we’ve forgotten the rather diminutive spinners – one of whom was the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket last year. In a drought-afflicted South Africa, slower and drier surfaces are anticipated, as was the case in the first two Tests against India. Cricket Tips Free It follows that the ball will grip and turn on these surfaces – the closest South African pitches will ever get to a dustbowl. And remember, these are
spinners who have managed to turn the soft and unhelpful Kookaburra in adverse conditions; that is, while the seam of the ball holds up and grips on the surface, and if the surface is eroded enough to cause enough friction. Free Cricket Tips So hold on to your hats; the spinners may well be the show-stoppers in this tour.
Murmurs from the Proteas’ camp: South Africa, on the back of a Test series win against India, would be confident going into this series despite their home record against the Aussies. AB, Faf and QdK have all recovered from their respective injuries. The experience of Amla, the youthful zeal of Markram, along with the stoic resistance of Elgar up top means that their batting line-up continues to be one of the world’s best. Jsk Tips Their only concern would be the form of Quinton de Kock. Their bowling remains potent as ever, and the Smith-Rabada duel has been much-hyped over the past few weeks: like two superheros at the peak of their destructive powers. Match Betting Tips This also happens to be Morne Morkel’s farewell Test series, and South Africa would love to give him a fitting send-off…
Murmurs from the Australian camp: In a rather archaic move (as far as cricket goes), Steven Smith announced the Australian Playing XI yesterday, which was the same XI that vanquished England in the final Ashes Test at the SCG. The bowlers are supreme but there is doubt about their longevity and their ability to last the entire 4-match series unscathed. Cricket Session Betting Tips There are players in the Aussie side that still need to prove their mettle overseas, but their confidence knows no bounds after the Ashes victory and that will do them a world of good coming into this series. Cricket Betting Tips David Warner has fond memories of his last trip here, and Steven Smith? Well, he’s basically what Kohli is in ODIs – all but
Now now, enough history and nostalgia. To the action! Let us first take a look at the team news, conditions, and the battles to look out for in the lead-up to this gladiator clash…
Deepu’s stats junction
Here are the numbers, courtesy stats-king Deepu Narayanan. Go ahead and allow your jaws to drop:
Australia’s Test record in RSA in the post-apartheid era:
2013/14 Australia won 2-1 in SA
2011/12 Australia tied 1-1 in SA
2008/09 Australia won 2-1 in SA
2005/06 Australia won 3-0 in SA
2001/02 Australia won 2-1 in SA
1997/98 Australia won 2-1 in SA
1993/94 Australia tied 1-1 in SA
*1986/87 SA won 1-0 in SA (Unofficial Test series)*
South Africa’s record in Australia since 2005/06
2016/17 SA won 2-1 in Australia
2012/13 SA won 1-0 in Australia
2008/09 SA won 2-1 in Australia
*2005/06 Australia won 2-0 in Australia*
Want to hear something even more startling? South Africa have failed to beat Australia in their own backyard since 1970, days before the boycott. If the last one was surprising, then this one truly baffling.Cricket Match Tips The last time South Africa won any home series against Australia was an unofficial Test series in 1986/87, in which they pipped the Aussies 1-0. Cricket Betting Tips So to call this particular rivalry enigmatic would be an understatement. It defies the norm that the home side has the upper hand and turns it on its head…
A third factor, and perhaps the most intriguing for our readers out there (Sorry, I saved the best one for last. Cricket Betting Tips Free You know how it is: dessert always comes last. Anyway, I’m digressing…) So here’s the biggie: The teams haven’t won at home against each other since 2005/06 when Australia beat the Proteas 2-0 Down Under. Just try and fathom that. Like a tennis match in which the two players keep breaking serves every game…
The second unique aspect of this rivalry is that it’s the most cricket-focused feud of them all. Free Tips No verbal diarrhea caught on the stump mic (not to mention, pub fights) which have become part and parcel of the Ashes, no intense confrontations laced with regional expletives in India-Pakistan matches. None of that. Cricket Tips There exists no sense of contrived nationalism or ego-clash in this rivalry. Free Cricket Tips It’s just South Africa versus Australia in in fairly neutral/familiar conditions for both; arguably the most evenly-matched contest in the world. Just pure and unadulterated cricket.
For one thing, the typical pitch conditions in South Africa are as extremely similar to those in Australia. The bulli on the pitch contains high clay-content, making it hard and bouncy; a hint of seam movement due to the grass-cover, and some moisture likely to make the new ball skid and hurry onto the batsman – conditions that define the typical South African wicket, as well as the archetypal Australian strip.
There are reasons aplenty as to why this rivalry is different from most others. And it is a bit of a mystery too. Why, you ask?
8:30AM local time: ‘ello there mates Down Under and my broers in South Africa! And greetings to cricket buffs all over the world. I’d’ve started with a simple “hello and welcome” but (a) that’s far too mainstream and (b) there’s nothing welcoming about the atmosphere as these two fierce cricketing rivals take each other on. This is the first day of a Test series between Australia and South Africa in Durban. This ain’t no picnic; it’s a battlefield. And you won’t hear anything but war cries here.
Preview by Tristan Lavalette
Arguably the best Test series of 2018 will start amid a swirl of intrigue and anticipation on Thursday (March 1) in Durban when fierce rivals South Africa and Australia clash in the first Test.
The proud nations have a storied history with battles marked by fiery and hard-fought contests. It has arguably been cricket’s most competitive rivalry over a long period of time, one that almost always spits out riveting contests.
In a major quirk to the norm, home ground has meant little in these matches. Online Cricket Betting Tips The Proteas have memorably won their past three series Down Under countered by Australia enjoying a remarkable unbeaten record in South Africa since readmission. They have won five of seven series and seem to have a knack of raising their game in terrain that is reminiscent of back home.
After a lopsided and, truth be told, laborious Ashes, there is expectation that this series will produce plenty of pyrotechnics with both teams armed with menacing bowling attacks complemented by several high-octane batsmen.
However, tempering the expected fireworks show, the Kingsmead pitch is tipped to be slower than the pace-friendly wickets during the Indian series where ball thoroughly dominated bat leading to shortened matches across the three-Test series.
The makeup of the pitch adds intrigue to a contest between two evenly matched teams who both have similar strengths and weaknesses. Australia are deemed to have a slight edge mainly due to continuity as selectors have stuck with the same line-up that thrashed England in the fifth Test in early January.
Enjoying the rarity of sporting such a stable team, the only question mark for Australia appears to be opener Cameron Bancroft, who struggled towards the backend of his debut series in the Ashes. Bancroft aside, Australia’s batting has long underwhelmed but they clicked into gear as the Ashes wore on and were considerably strengthened due to the strong performances of the maligned Marshes [Shaun and Mitchell] in the middle-order.