Tue, Oct 18, 2:10pm by Jake Equid
Despite coming off their first ever series whitewash defeat in South Africa, Australia is still favoured to turn the tables on the same opponent when they meet in the first test in Perth on the third of November.
The make-up of the Australian eleven is as always at this time of year, one of the major talking points in the media. This year it is coming under even more scrutiny though as the team, widely regarded as Australia’s only truly national team is under performing.
According to former captain Mark Taylor, as many as six spots are up for grabs with only skipper Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and fast bowlers Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc the only certain starters.
Another former captain, Michael Clarke has also weighed in on the debate, adding Nathan Lyon and all-rounder Mitch Marsh will retain their spots in the side. He also added that he would like to see Usman Khuwaja return to the line-up after he was dropped for the final-test of the series in Sri Lanka in August, Australia’s most recent outing in the long form of the game.
According to Clarke, the third seam bowler spot is down to a choice between Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird. Speaking of fast bowlers, the tourists are currently pondering an all-out pace assault of their own.
South Africa have five specialist seamers to pick from: Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada an all-out pace attack is not out of the question, especially for the opening match in Perth which is traditionally a pace bowlers’ paradise.
South Africa also have two rookie spinners in their squad, but Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj could end up being tourists on the three-Test tour. South Africa have ample opportunity to see if the bowlers will benefit as much as has been hinted at in their warm-up matches.
Their first practice game will take place under lights against a Cricket Australia eleven in Adelaide beginning on October 22. They then head down the road to Glenelg for another five-day match against South Australia on the 27th before flying to Perth ahead of the third Test.
The Aussies are $1.91 to win the first test with South Africa at $3.25 and the draw at $3.95. The tourists will push the Aussies all the way in what should be a tight series, they are without their skipper AB de Villiers which is a massive loss, I think the series will finish in a draw, 1-1.
Odds provided by William Hill and were correct at the time of publishing*
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