Australia take on South Africa in the first of five ODIs in Perth on Friday, with Australia the bookies favourites to win the opening match on an expected fast track at the WACA.
We can’t read too much into Australia’s 2-1 T20I series win because the players in both squads have changed and it’s a different format. What can be learned, though, is that any Australian team is tough to beat in their own backyard and South Africa will have to be on top of their game to do so.
The hosts turned the T20I series around by using aggression. They will try the same tactic on Friday at the WACA, which is traditionally the wicket with the most pace and bounce anywhere in the world. South Africa, however, are more prepared to deal with such as assault with the return of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis. The visitors will also be able to dish it out, as Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel come into the squad.
Players to Watch:
Faf du Plessis has made a habit of scoring big runs against Australia. He did it during the Test series down under and more recently in the triangular ODI tournament in Zimbabwe. If he gets going again then the hosts may get very flat in the field as they have done in the past. For Australia, Shane Watson is back from injury and looking good at the crease. He is fresh and hungry for runs, so he could be back with a bang.
Australia will come out firing, but the Proteas ODI unit is a settled one that is playing great cricket. For this reason, the visitors can start the series with a win that would be considered an upset.
Proteas ODI squad:
AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Kyle Abbott, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson, Imran Tahir, Farhaan Behardien, Marchant de Lange, Rilee Rossouw, Vernon Philander.
Australia ODI squad:
Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson.