Aussies ready to jump on South Africa

Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 12:43 [IST]
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Aussies ready to jump on South Africa

Cape Town, Nov 8: Australia are ready to pounce on complacent South Africa in the two test matches starting on Wednesday.  Both sides agree that results are unpredictable as pre-game form or statistics do not make a huge difference.

Though South Africa are ranked above Australia in the ICC Test Rankings, Aussies, under a new Captain Michael Clarke, are favourites against the highly ranked side considering the fact that South Africa's lack of match-practice might prove the difference between the fierce rivals.

Under new coach Gary Kirsten, South Africa are No.2 behind England in the Test Rankings, but South Africa have done very little to deserve that position having played 10 months ago in a drawn series against India at Cape Town.

Senior players like Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn have not played the longer version of the game since the Test series against India.

After the Ashes thrashing Australia have moved on under new captain Clark, with a series win in Sri Lanka in September.

Australia are ready to continue thier away form as they take on South Africa in the upcoming Test series. Australia have won four and drawn one of the five series. They have not lost a Test series since 1969-70.

Australia's middle-order batsman Michael Hussey said, "Definitely getting some first-class cricket under your belt is beneficial coming into a Test match, no question about that, we can definitely have that as an advantage, no question.

"I think they'll (South Africa) be coming out firing and they'll be fresh and playing pretty hard cricket. But I guess, hopefully, us having played quite a bit of cricket, we'll be able to maintain our intensity for long periods."

Australia would aim to take advantage again, former skipper Ricky Ponting said, "One of the things we felt might have been on our side in the one-day series was that we'd played a bit of cricket and the South Africans were coming off a long break," Ponting added.

Talented fast bowler Pat Cummings could start making his Test debut after the 18-year-old was impressive during the ODI series.

Kirsten's first Test in charge could include Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir and Cape Town-based seam bowler Vernon Philander, who are yet to play Test cricket. It will include opening batsman Jacques Rudolph, who hasn't played Tests since 2006 but was recalled straight to the team after a five-year's in English county cricket.

AB de Villiers also missed the ODI series against Australia and has not appeared in any form of international Cricket this season.

But contents between these two fierce rivals goes unpredictable which was proved last in 2008-09 Tests. South Africa recorded an historic series win in a three-match set in Australia, only to go down by the same 2-1 score just three months later at home.

South Africa batsman Ashwell Prince said, "It's not about the pretty cover drive, You're not going to get many chances to hit a pretty cover drive that's for sure. It's definitely a mental battle.

"They like to play the game aggressively, whether they are batting or bowling, it's Test cricket, there's no place to hide, and that's what it's all about." he added.

"Can't really put my finger on it myself, really," Hussey said. "We always know it's going to be very, very tough cricket and that's what we look forward to. It's what we get up for, knowing it's going to be a challenge.

"We haven't really looked at it as having momentum going into the Test series. The new preparations started at Potch (Potchefstroom). New players, different mindset. I think we start at nil-all and we go from there."


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