Sat, Feb 24, 1:07pm by Staff Writer
The Australian tour of South Africa has officially kicked off with the tourists currently playing South Africa A in a three-day game in their first up challenge.
Following the tour game, Australia will then do battle with the South Africans over four tests with the first test scheduled to commence next Thursday March 1. The four test tour is a change to the norm, the countries normally undertaking three test series in both Australia and South Africa.
With series between the two nations normally bringing some riveting contests and exciting cricket, a four test series will provide an added challenge for each of the two sides.
The most recent test series between the two nations was back in 2016 when South Africa toured Australia for three tests, winning the series 2-1. The series was decided after the second test in Hobart, with the Australians earning a consolation victory in the third test in Adelaide.
The Aussies will fancy their chances in South Africa where they have never lost a series in the country since the Proteas’ return to international cricket in November 1991.
Both countries are coming off some excellent form with the red ball with the South Africans most recently defeating number one test nation India 2-1 in their three test series. However, it is worth noting that India did win the third test, similar to Australia winning the Adelaide test against South Africa in 2016.
Australia enters the test series fresh off a dominant 4-0 Ashes victory over England and will be keen to avenge their previous series to the South Africans on home soil.
Similarly, the South Africans enter this upcoming series having won their last series, also a home series, defeating world number one test side India 2-1 in January.
However, it is worth noting that South Africa lost their most recent test, the third test of the series to India by 63 runs. The Australians’ most recent tour to South Africa in 2013-14 saw them emerge victorious 2-1 in what was a highly entertaining series.
Less than a week out of the first test, it is the home side who are favourites to prevail over the four tests with South Africa at $2.00, Australia $2.75 with the Draw at $4.75.
With the likes of AB De Villiers, David Warner, Hashim Amla, Steve Smith, Kagiso Rabada and Mitchell Starc all expected to line up come the first test next Thursday, we look set for a series full of explosive action and intense competition.
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