Preview by Cricket Betting Tips
The South Africa-Australia Test series promised a hard-fought battle but relations have soured between the teams in ugly fashion and has left an unsavoury taste ahead of the second Test starting on Friday (March 9). Cricket Betting Tips Since the insults flew between David Warner and Quinton de Kock on day four in Durban, the much-anticipated series has unfortunately been overshadowed by bickering and accusations. Cricket Betting Tips Free Thankfully, the spotlight will return to the on-field action with the crucial second Test in Port Elizabeth set to shape the series.
Australia dominated the first Test with a comprehensive 118-run victory but their momentum may have been stymied by the Warner-de Kock saga with the team being widely admonished for their behaviour in Durban. Cricket Tips Undoubtedly, Australia would be disappointed that their terrific all-round performance in Durban has largely been relegated to the backdrop and, conversely, South Africa have somewhat escaped scrutiny for the lopsided first Test result.
As the dust settles from a turbulent week, a confident Australia can grab a stranglehold of the series with victory in Port Elizabeth and have predictably named an unchanged line-up. Their brilliant attack overwhelmed South Africa with only Aiden Markram and AB de Villiers managing any resistance in Durban. Cbtf Cricket Most ominously, spearhead Mitchell Starc ran through South Africa's tail in both innings and the electrifying left-armer looms once again as the match-winner on an St George's Park deck expected to be favourable to reverse swing.
Matching the hype, Australia has an unbeaten record from five Tests armed with their 'dream team' attack. Cricket Match Tips England and South Africa have been unable to muster much resistance and Australia's attack appears strengthened after an encouraging performance by allrounder Mitchell Marsh, who picked up the crucial wicket of Markram in Durban.
The quicks perfectly complement one another, while Nathan Lyon confirmed his tag as the world's best spinner by setting the tone with early wickets in South Africa's first innings. Even though Australia are surging with six wins from their past seven Tests, they still remain an unfinished product - most notably in batting.
Australia's brilliant bowling attack once again papered over some batting wobbles with the visitors unable to muster an individual century in the first Test. Free Cricket Tips Marsh saved Australia's first innings with 96 and propelled them to a score of 351, which proved more than enough but the brains trust would expect meatier totals moving forward.
Under-pressure opener Cameron Bancroft led Australia's tentative second innings with a half-century to ensure selectors wouldn't have to contemplate making any changes. Cricket Betting Tips However, question marks remain over temperamental No.3 Usman Khawaja, who has long struggled overseas and needs to perform in Port Elizabeth. Otherwise, his rollercoaster of a career will once again be delicately poised.
With their backs against the wall, South Africa showed enough fight in the backend of the first Test to believe a turnaround is imminent. Cbtf They appeared to be getting steamrolled early on day four before Markram's heroics ensured the Proteas avoided total humiliation.
However, South Africa's batting looked brittle and they need considerably better performances from the old guard of Hashim Amla and captain Faf du Plessis. Amla has been under Josh Hazlewood's spell across the past two series and needs to find a way to overcome his tormentor.
South Africa will feel more optimistic about their bowling after generally shackling Australia's batting in Durban. They would have rued a lacklustre performance early on day two which proved costly, highlighted by Morne Morkel's struggles. Cricket Betting Tips With their counterparts firing on all cylinders, South Africa's bowlers can ill-afford any lapses in Port Elizabeth but they can take heart from restricting Australia's stars Warner and Steve Smith.
Smith, in particular, has been almost impregnable in recent times but left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj has enjoyed success and perhaps uncovered a rare chink in the Australian captain's armoury. South Africa will well know that if Smith and/or Warner fire in Port Elizabeth then a series victory could well be forlorn.
Amid such a hotbed climate, with tensions simmering between the teams, the second Test in Port Elizabeth is set to be an explosive battle but, hopefully, without the controversies that marred the series opener.
When: Friday, March 9, 2018; 10AM local, 1.30PM IST
Where: St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
What to expect: The weather should be fine throughout the Test. There was a tinge of green ahead of the Test but the pitch is expected to be slow. Reverse swing could play a factor during the match.
Although Temba Bavuma has had another week of recovery and is batting pain-free, Faf du Plessis said that the batsman probably only has 80% power in the hand. In any case, Jsk Betting Tips Theunis de Bruyn's second innings effort in Durban should ensure that he keeps his place in the side. South Africa will consider tweaking their bowling line-up, but are likely to remain unchanged from the first Test.
Probable XI: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (capt), Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.
Australia will go in with the same line-up from the first Test.
Playing XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon
Did you know
Nathan Lyon is seven wickets shy of 300 Test scalps. He would be the first Australian offspinner to reach that milestone and the fifth offspinner overall.
Since readmission, South Africa and Australia have split the two contests in Port Elizabeth. Australia won an epic Test in 1997 by two wickets, made famous by Ian Healy winning the match with a six, but South Africa returned the favour with a comprehensive 231-run victory in 2014.
Josh Hazlewood has dismissed Hashim Amla six of the last seven innings. The South African great averages 48.58 in Tests but a measly 5.17 against Hazlewood.
What they said
"Obviously there's been a fair bit going on the last couple of days but the boys trained well yesterday. Pretty quick turnaround. Free Cricket Betting Tips We played a really good game in Durban. It probably hasn't been spoken about much, but we played some good cricket and hopefully we can keep it up this week." - Steve Smith, Australia captain
"It's the norm when we play against Australia. It's just about getting us ready for a Test match. It's a big game for us, and we need to make sure that cricket does the talking." - Faf du Plessis, South Africa captain