After a gruelling series with India across the 3 format, the South African team will not have much time to rest as Steve Smith-led Australia have already arrived in the country for a 4 match test series starting from 1st March. The Aussies having secured a fairly easy win in their tour match against South Africa A are now on their way to Durban for the 1st test match. Here, we look at the key stats, preview and predicted XI for the South Africa vs Australia 1st Test.
South Africa vs Australia, 1st Test Preview
South Africans will welcome back the likes of Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis for the test series after the trio missed the majority of the limited over series with India. Australia will enter the series high on confidence after a resounding win in the Ashes earlier this year and then a confidence-boosting win against New Zealand and England in the T20 tri-series.
One player that the South Africans will miss dearly is veteran fast bowler Dale Steyn, who just can’t seem to catch a break with injuries at this point of his career. The four test matches could finally come down to how well the two bowling contingent perform over the course of one month.
Australian captain Steve Smith will again be the main batsman for the Australian team after his heroic performance against England in the Ashes. However, if the visitors are looking to succeed on this tour they will need other top-order batsmen like David Warner, Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh to contribute and help their captain tackle the South African pace battery.
It will be a fiery and fiercely contested series that could finally come down to very small margins but with 4 tests in the schedule, expect both the team to go hard at each other from the get-go in order to take that early advantage.
South Africa vs Australia, 1st Test, Stats
The last time Australia toured South Africa they won the test series 2-1, however following that the Proteas toured Australia and returned home with the series in the bag again by 2-1.
AB de Villiers is the 3rd highest run-scorer in South Africa-Australia test matches with over 1600 runs at an average of 48.26.
Australian captain Steve Smith was the highest run-scorer in test matches in 2017 with 1305 runs, which included 6 centuries and 3 fifties. The 28-year-old ended the Ashes also as the highest run-getter including 3 big centuries.
In the last 10 test matches between the two sides, Both South Africa and Australia have won 4 matches each while two have ended in a draw.
Hashim Amla is just 214 runs away from completing 9000 international test runs, while AB de Villiers is a little far behind and requires 662 runs to reach the same target.
South Africa vs Australia, 1st Test, Predicted XI
South Africa Predicted XI – Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock (wk), Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj.
Australia Predicted XI – Shaun Marsh, David Warner, Tim Paine (wk), Steve Smith (c), Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Cameron Bancroft