CrumbsPlenty on the line at Newlands

2009-03-18 00:00

IN what is technically a dead rubber, there has been a significant amount of heat in the build-up to today’s third Test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands.

The loss of Graeme Smith at Kingsmead was always going to be a major blow for South Africa. But the relentless to-ing and fro-ing since the captain’s enforced absence has illustrated just how much he will be missed.

Imraan Khan and Ashwell Prince will open the batting, one a debutant and the other a reluctant novice in the art of facing the new ball.

Even after plundering 254 off a more than useful Titans line-up last week, Prince maintained that he craved the quiet comfort of the middle-order.

His refusal to accept the captaincy, as the official next in command, has also raised questions about his temperament.

Jacques Kallis, the “caretaker captain”, has denied any problems arising from Prince’s tough stance.

“I think he had his reasons and his views why he didn’t want it,” said Kallis. “Obviously he was offered it first and he turned it down and then they phoned me and asked me if I would do it for one Test match.

“There’s no issue there. I’ve had a chat with him and there’s no problem. The guys respect his point of view and the fact that I’ve taken over as captain.”

The captaincy issue is just one of South Africa’s problems, as they also have changes in their attack, too, with Albie Morkel replacing his wayward sibling Morne.

Australia are suddenly the settled side, despite a host of new caps at the start of the series, and they even have the pleasant headache of whether or not to include a wrist-spinner in Bryce McGain.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said his team were keen to maintain the standard they set in the first two Tests.

“We’ve had those three or four days away, but since we’ve been back together as a group everything has been focused on being as well-prepared as we can be for this game,” he said.

“One thing I don’t want to do is get too carried away by what we’ve achieved. We’ve won our last three Test matches in a row against South Africa. It’s important that we forget that but remember the things that have made us play at the level we have.”

Australia have the momentum, having won three Tests against their hosts, but South Africa have plenty of motivation to prove several naysayers wrong.

Most of the squad were involved in domestic matches over the weekend, with varying degrees of success.

Their lack of match practice certainly played a part in their loss at the Wanderers, and they have been playing catch-up ever since.

Without their captain, and with a brand spanking new pair opening the attack, South Africa will have to start well to win this final Test of an enthralling summer.

“We have got to do what they did in Sydney,” Kallis pointed out.

“They turned it around there, and we need to do the same here.”

Teams

South Africa: (likely) 1 Imraan Khan, 2 Ashwell Prince, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis (capt), 5 AB de Villiers, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Albie Morkel, 9 Paul Harris, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Makhaya Ntini.

Australia: (possible) 1 Phillip Hughes, 2 Simon Katich, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 Bryce McGain, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus.

TV times: From 10am on Supersport 2 and SABC 3.

Roebuck on the third Test, page 22

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.