With the most anticipated Test series between Australia and South Africa just days away from the start, there is a lot at stake for both teams, who will be gearing up for what could be their toughest test in the five-day format this summer.
We will look at all the rivalries between individuals, which could easily decide the fate of this encounter.
David Warner vs Hashim Amla
The first contest is between the openers from both sides, which includes Australia’s David Warner and South Africa’s ace Hashim Amla.Warner, who was one of the star performer for his side during dismal tour of Sri Lanka, and also played arguably the innings of the series in the recently concluded ODI series against the same opposition, will start as a favourite to perform better than his opposing number.The 30-year-old will be hoping to continue his good work, and deliver some important runs for the hosts in the upcoming series.On the other hand Amla, who in the absence of the original captain AB de Villiers, has added responsibility to deliver at the top for the visitors.
The 33-year-old has a fantastic career in the longest format of the game, and was one of the best performers for the Proteas in their previous tour of Australia, where he averages over 57 after six Test matches, with two centuries and three half-centuries in 12 innings Down Under.
Steve Smith vs Faf du Plessis
The second in the list of rivalries is between the two young captains, Australia’s Steve Smith and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis.Smith, who is one of the finest Australian batsmen over the course of last 24 months in all formats, is under pressure as a captain after suffering two whitewash in the space of two months.
Thus, the 27-year-old will be hoping to deliver with both bat and with his decisions on the field, which will go a long way in deciding his fate as the leader of the team.Du Plessis on the other hand, clearly seems to be on advantage as he is coming on the back of 5-0 triumph in the ODI series on home soil against the same opposition.However, the 32-year-old, who will be standing in as captain in the absence of De Villiers, will hope to deliver with the bat in the same country, where he marked the beginning of his wonderful Test career.
Dale Steyn vs Mitchell Starc
The third battle is between two pace department spearheads, namely Australia’s Mitchell Starc and South Africa’s Dale Steyn.The contest would have been a much awaited one, had both speedster would have been fit prior to the series.
But in this case, it is advantage Steyn, who is coming in fit and is ready to have another go on the Australian batsmen in conditions, which will assist the 33-year-old.However, Steyn’s real competition will be against his fitness, as he missed most of South Africa’s previous three Test series due to elbow injury.
Talking of fitness, Starc will face the similar problem, as it is yet to be seen if the 26-year-old is completely recovered from a nasty injury, which he picked during the training session on Sri Lankan tour.
Josh Hazelwood vs Kagiso Rabada
The last battle will be between two promising quick’s in Australia’s Josh Hazelwood and South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada.
Hazelwood will start as a favorite in this battle, having already played nine of out 20 career Tests at home, where he picked 33 wickets at an average less than 30.On the other hand Rabada, who is famous for proven his critics wrong, will be gearing to have a go at the Australian batsmen, after starting his five-day career in an impressive manner.