Proteas vs Australia: How they shape up for the second test

2014-02-19 17:17

Preview: South Africa vs Australia, second test, St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth

Start time: 10.30am

The lowdown: To say that Australia is cock-a-hoop after their crushing first test win is an understatement.

They are over the moon after they overcame the early morning struggles of the SuperSport Park test and find themselves with six test wins on the bounce.

When Australia last played a test match in Port Elizabeth, coach Darren Lehmann was still trying to break into the Australian test team and none of the current players had made their first-class debuts.

But the Proteas will be carrying heavy wounds after the pasting and will look to their resilience in the second test matches of the series.

Key match-up: Mitchell Johnson vs the batting line-up

Mitchell Johnson scared the living daylights out of the Proteas batsmen while on his way to a 12-wicket haul in the first test.

All the talk has been about how the Proteas will combat him, which is fair considering the amount of carnage he wreaked at SuperSport Park.

While Johnson bowled well, it was a sustained effort from the support bowlers that created the pressure for the wickets to be taken at the other end.

AB de Villiers stood up for the Proteas but he cannot do it alone. It is a team game and everyone will be required to put in the hard yards.

If they don’t, Australia will go home with another series victory.

Team news: Ryan McLaren’s mild concussion suffered at the hands of Johnson rules him out of the test, leaving the selectors to juggle between Dean Elgar and Wayne Parnell.

With their liking for four pacemen and the variation that Parnell brings, the left-arm seamer could be the preferred option.

Then there is the batting failure that needs to be weighed. Australia is still sweating on Shane Watson’s fitness but tinkering with a winning line-up hasn’t been their style. However, there’s the quixotic pitch and the overhead conditions to deal with.

Probable teams:

South Africa: Graeme Smith (c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Dean Elgar/Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel

Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Alex Doolan/Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke (c), Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon

What the captains said:

“I have made a career out of looking ugly and if I keep doing that, I will be happy,” Proteas captain Graeme Smith on his batting technique

“I care about winning and that is the only statistic I care about,” Australian captain Michael Clarke

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