The Proteas should have four seamers in their starting XI for the first Test against Australia on the pacey Perth track.
This game will be defined by the fast bowlers. The Waca traditionally has one of the quickest tracks in the world, and with the weather set to be hot and dry throughout the five days of the first Test, expect a fast, bouncy track that is ideal for the speedsters.
I think playing with four seamers is a must for this match, and Morne Morkel must be the man to come in. He’s tall and he should be able to make full use of this track. Together with Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander, the Proteas boast a formidable pace attack, and they can be rotated nicely between the four of them.
They have to go this route, because they don’t have an all-rounder who can offer pace. A few years ago they would have had the luxury of picking a frontline spinner with Jacques Kallis providing that fourth seam option. JP Duminy will have to play the part-time role. He won’t have the wicket-taking impact that Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj might have been able to offer, but he can be utilised to keep things ticking over while the pacemen take a rest.
Australia do have that to a certain extent in Mitchell Marsh, which will comfortably allow the selection of Nathan Lyon to accompany Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle.
Morkel would be the only change to the side that beat New Zealand, coming in for Dane Piedt, who isn’t in the squad at all. The only player under real pressure to score runs at the moment is Stephen Cook, who disappointed in the warm-up games and really needs to find some consistency after his century on debut against England. Rilee Rossouw is on form and waiting in the wings should Cook continue to struggle to score runs.
The Proteas have played some good cricket recently and they’re in really good spirits. You can see their energy in the field and I think Faf du Plessis has led the side very well. Ab de Villiers’ absence has worked in their favour, as they’ve all had to rally together to put in good performances without relying on him.
I’m predicting a Proteas win for this Test. They’ve got over a number of hurdles and they’re playing with confidence. Australia don’t look themselves at the moment. They got thrashed by Sri Lanka and it’s put a dent in their confidence and Steve Smith’s leadership as a whole. He’s under a lot of pressure, but the likes of Starc, Hazlewood and Siddle will be the ones making the difference should they manage to win.
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