The Australian summer of cricket is back as Australia will face South Africa in the first test at the WACA in Perth.
Pressure mounts on Australia after a 3-0 whitewash series loss to Sri Lanka where they were completely outplayed over there. Then coming to South Africa, they were whitewashed again in their ODI series 5-0 which raises concerns about the team.
Their bowling contingent consists of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon as Joe Mennie will be 12th man. The concern is the fact Starc and Siddle have not played much cricket in the past 6 months due to injuries and whether they can 40+ overs in this test match. Lyon needs to collect wickets and help out the pace bowlers while Josh Hazewood needs to perform like he usually does in Australia.
Their batting lineup has had its ups and downs but mainly downs in Sri Lanka and would want to bounce back on home soil. It starts with the openers in David Warner and Shaun Marsh. Warner has been involved with talk in the media about the South Africa bowlers saying he is not afraid of them so the Australians will be hoping a century is on the cards from him. Shaun Marsh will play his first test in his home city of Perth and with Joe Burns breathing down his neck, the pressure is on him to make a big score. Captain Steve Smith, Usamn Kawaja, Adam Voges, Mitch Marsh and Peter Nevill all need to contribute on the scoresheet to give the team any hope of winning.
Meanwhile, South Africa will be feeling confident after beating New Zealand in their last test series at home 2-0. As mentioned, they destroyed Australia 5-0 in their ODI Series and judging from what was said in the media, they will be looking to show no mercy throughout this 3 test series.
Their bowlers have said they will show no mercy to the Australian batsman and so they should with their bowling attack, which is as good as any other nation. They have Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Venon Philander with all of them having the ability to grab 5 wickets in an innings. They also have a youngster in Kagiso Rabada who can bowl 145-150km/h and is only 21 years old. Their spinner is Tabraiz Shamsi who is a left arm unorthodox spinner who produced figures of 3/38 against Australia in one of the ODI matches so he could provide an option for the Proteas.
Their batting lineup, led by captain Faf du Plessis will be looking to make runs. Despite the absence of their star batsman AB de Villiers, they still have the likes of du Plessis, Hashim Alma, JP Duminy and Dean Elgar that can make runs. Their young wicket-keeper in Quinten de Kock has shown some great form with the bat and could be a danger man for the Australian bowlers while another youngster in Stephen Cook is another player to watch out for with the bat.
Statistics show that South Africa have not lost a test match in Perth in the 3 games they have played there so it will be tough for Australia to overcome the Proteas. However, if one or two of Warner, Smith, Khawaja, Voges and both Marsh brothers make big scores, their chances of winning will increase.
South Africa will be looking to continue their good form in Perth and with a bowling attack like theirs, they should be coming here looking to win.
The WACA has a history of big team totals so expect to see some batsmen making centuries.
The first test is set and will be looking forward to an exciting first test encounter between Australia and South Africa.