Australia's tour of South Africa starting from March 1 will be one of the high voltage encounters in the new year. The build-up to the series has already started with a three - day warm-up match which was won by Australia.
Both the teams look well balanced in all the departments but it is the bowling which will hold key to success. On one hand, will be the fearsome pace quartet of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel while on the other hand, Australia boasts of a fearsome trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
Ahead of the first Test which begins on Thursday, Aussie skipper Steve Smith has revealed his plans of countering the threat of Kagiso Rabada. Hinting that his team will look to fire up Rabada, Smith reminded that the number one bowler in Test ranking is just one incident away from a two-Test suspension.
Speaking to Cricket.com.au, Smith said, “It could perhaps be a plan to try and get him fired up. You never know what some guys do when they’re fired up. He’s obviously a quality bowler and a big player for them. You don’t want to see guys getting suspended or anything like that, you want to come up against the best, but you never know.”
Darren Lehmann backed up Smith on the even contest saying “He’s a fiery character so we’ll just play it as we see it. At the end of the day, we’ve got to play him better than we did in Australia a couple of years ago (where Rabada captured 15 wickets in the 2-1 series win to South Africa). He’s a quality bowler, so for us to get on top of him it’s going to be key to how we play in the series.”
Still very young in international cricket, Rabada has already become the leader of the attack. With Morne Morkel playing his last series for South Africa, Rabada will look to support him as much as possible. He will look to share the workload but at the same time will look to pose a threat to the Aussie batsmen as well.
Thu Mar 1 - Mon Mar 5
South Africa vs Australia, 1st Test
Fri Mar 9 - Tue Mar 13
South Africa vs Australia, 2nd Test
St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth
Thu Mar 22 - Mon Mar 26
South Africa vs Australia, 3rd Test
Newlands, Cape Town
Fri Mar 30 - Tue Apr 3
South Africa vs Australia, 4th Test
The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg