Mon, Oct 31, 10:45am by Head Editor
Date and Time: Thursday November 3, 1:30pm
Venue: W.A.C.A Ground, Perth, Western Australia
TV: Live on Channel Nine
The summer of cricket begins on Thursday when the Aussies host South Africa at a venue that will hold no fears for the visitors. In fact, South Africa are the only team in World Cricket that are undefeated in Test cricket at the home of Western Australian cricket.
As always at this time of year, there has been plenty of conjecture around the selection of the Australian team. Little known fast bowler Joe Mennie was named in the squad which left many journalists searching for their phones for a google search.
That search revealed a 27-year old South Australian who took 51 wickets at an average of 21 in last season’s Sheffield Shield. However, selector Rod Marsh made a point of mentioning the fact that he’s scored nearly 1000 first-class runs at just over 18 which in the end got him a start ahead of Tasmanian Jackson Bird.
WATCH: Our Preview of the first Test
It seems a bit weird to be picking bowlers that make runs but the nation will make their mind up after the debutant gets his chance.
Should he get his chance, a man he’ll have to face is South African quick Dale Steyn. He is one of four current players that have been part of the ‘double’ for the tourists, winning twice at this venue in 2008 and 2012. The others are JP Duminy, Morne Morkel and Hashim Amla.
Another player who was part of both of those successes is injured Proteas skipper AB de Villers. He will be missed but stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis is in excellent nick.
He scored an unbeaten century against New Zealand last time he donned the whites, at Centurion two months ago. Another ton followed in Johannesburg as he skippered the ODI side to a 5-0 battering of this week’s opponents.
Australia are still favourites but after opening at $1.91, they have drifted to $1.98. There has been money for the tourists which has seen them come into $3 after opening at $3.25. The draw has also come in from $4.50 to $4.15.
The visitors seem to have all the cards here. The venue will suit their experienced fast bowling trio of Steyn, Morkel and Vernon Philander who will be a huge threat to an Australian batting line-up that drops away pretty quickly after Steve Smith and Dave Warner.
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