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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

South Africa vs Australia 2nd Test 2009: Preview & Live Score

(This entry was originally published on Thursday, March 5th, 2009)

South Africa is going to face Australia in the second test, starting from Friday (6 March 2009) at the Kingsmead stadium, Durban. South Africa will look to level the series winning the second test because Australia is already ahead of the home side thanks to their excellent victory in the first test in Johannesburg. Before the test series went underway, South Africa knew that they would overtake Australia as the no. 1 team in test cricket by winning the test series. In fact, there were many who bet on South Africa’s favor, considering South Africa’s triumph in test series in Australia recently. From this perspective, the easy defeat in the first test came as a shock to South African team and their fans. Now, South Africa must win the remaining two test matches if they want to retain the no. 1 spot of test cricket.

Australian team went into the test series as underdog and there is no doubt about it. However, the inexperienced Australians have shown that they are capable of fitting the shoes of their predecessors. Marcus North hit a century on his debut test in Johannesburg, while another debutant, opener Phillip Hughes also showed his talent and skill in the second innings. Pacer Ben Hilfenhaus did not have an impressive debut, but he would continue his job for the second test too, even though he picked up a minor back injury in the first test.

I was really surprised by Australia’s move to feature three debutants in the very first test of the series against experienced South Africa. No doubt, the trick worked well for the Aussies and I would not be surprised at all if they do not bring any change in their final eleven for the second test. Australian pacers, especially Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle, dominated over the home batsmen who failed to show any resistance against the inexperienced visitors. With Kingsmead wicket being traditionally bouncy, it is less likely Australia would include either of their specialist spinners Bryce McGain or Nathan Hauritz. Rather, it is pretty much certain that Australia will employ an all-pace bowling attack like the first test.

Australia’s main strength is definitely their batting line up which includes the proven performers like Captain Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke. Given Mitchell Johnson’s batting display in the first test, you must admit that this Australian squad has a good batting depth which is very important when you are playing against a team like South Africa.

The home side would not bring any change in their final squad for the second test too, despite their defeat in the first match of the three-match test series. Last test’s 12th man Lonwabo Tsotsobe has been ruled out of the second test due to injury, and Albie Morkel has been included in the 12-men squad. Unlike Australia, South Africa is going to play spinner Paul Harris who had an average game in Johannesburg. Durban pitch offers extra bounce and pace for the pace bowlers. Moreover, the stadium is located near the sea and that is why, there will be adequate amount of air over the stadium which will help the pacers get swing too. So, the paces who know the trick of reverse-swing, can excel in this ground. Overall, Durban’s Kingsmead ground is an ideal condition for the pacers.

I think, South Africa should include all rounder Albie Morkel in the final squad for the second test to bolster their pace attack. In that case, spinner Paul Harris would have to make way for Morkel. Well, I think, South Africa should have more concern about their batting line up that failed in both the innings of the first test in Johannesburg. They have some in-form batsmen like Graeme Smith, Hamish Amla, de Villiers and Jean Paul Duminy who all failed in the first match. Now, if South Africa is to level the series in the second match, at least some of them have to bear a huge responsibility and play big innings. Albie Morkel would also bolster South Africa’s batting line up too and that is why, I think, he should be included in the second test squad.

Online Live Score and Updates
Here, I am giving some websites where you can enjoy live score and updates of second test match:

Cricinfo

Sify sports

action8cricket

cricketnext

Headlinesindia.com

CRICBUZZ

123INDIA.COM

Cricket365

thatscricket

In a bouncy condition like Durban, I think, pacers will play a dominant role and the batsmen will have to show enough resistance against bouncers. It is really very hard to pick up a favorite for the match with both sides having recent success against one another. Australian squad is very inexperienced and it will be interesting to see if they can continue their impressive form in the second match, dismissing all the fears regarding their consistency. South Africa would like to bounce back strongly wining the second match, but they must know it by now that the Australian team is not as vulnerable as it was expected before the series started.

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