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History on SA's side as Australia looms

By Telford Vice | Oct 16, 2016 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The last time SA lost a test series in Australia‚ Graeme Smith was their captain and Thabo Mbeki was the country’s president.

That was in January 2005‚ when SA drew in Perth but lost in Melbourne and Sydney.

They have since ventured Down Under twice‚ with Smith leading them to victory both times to mark SA’s only test series wins there in all 10 attempts going back to 1910.

So the class of 2016-17 would have felt the weight of history on their shoulders when they jetted out of OR Tambo International on Sunday.

Happily seven members of the current squad and one of their coaches have been there and done that‚ some of them twice.

Hashim Amla‚ JP Duminy‚ Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were part of both of those successful campaigns.

Dean Elgar‚ Faf du Plessis‚ Vernon Philander and Neil McKenzie - now SA’s batting coach - have one such triumph in the credibility bank.

Of the rest‚ Rilee Rossouw‚ Kyle Abbott‚ Quinton de Kock‚ Kagiso Rabada and Tabraiz Shamsi were among those who drilled the Aussies 5-0 in the one-day series in SA that ended on Wednesday.

Which leaves Temba Bavuma‚ Stephen Cook‚ Dane Vilas‚ Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj as the only members of the squad who do not now what it feels like to take a series off Australia‚ and of them only Shamsi and Maharaj are untried at test level.

All of which bodes well for a SA side showing signs of recovering from a 2015-16 season in which they lost five of eight tests.

They started to put that right in August‚ when they beat New Zealand 1-0.

But the true test will come in Perth‚ Hobart and Adelaide next month‚ when Faf du Plessis will lead SA in the absence of the injured AB de Villiers.

De Villiers’ loss will leave a big hole‚ but he also missed the ODI series and SA proved they could win without him.

However‚ the Aussies are ahead of SA in one important sense: the third and possibly deciding test will be played with a pink ball under lights at Adelaide Oval.

Australia and New Zealand played the inaugural day-night test in Adelaide in November‚ but SA have yet to experience the format’s latest iteration.

So their play a day-night test‚ so their two-day day/night game in Adelaide next weekend will be more than just another warm-up. - TMG Digital


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