Australia v South Africa: A Rushed, Near-Incoherent Primer

Australia takes on South Africa later this evening (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) in the second test at Port Elizabeth. It is safe to say that no-one knows what the shit will happen here.

Will Australia continue its Indian Summer? Or will South Africa unleash its own fast bowling cartel upon our oft-flimsy batting line-up?

No one, aside from the Nostradamus Glenn McGrath, expected Australia to whitewash England in the Ashes. But we did. We fucking smashed them; it was glorious.

But these days, test cricket seems to favour the home side. Can you believe that it was just 12 months ago that Australia got dicked by India in that test series, 4-0?

Fast-track a year later and Australia is killing it against England and South Africa. New Zealand batsmen are hitting triple centuries at home against India. What the actual fuck is going on here?

The Australian line-up is unchanged for the second test. Our batting still remains a worry – despite some strong performances in recent times, there remains a general consensus that our batsmen just aren’t world class.

I miss you, Punter
I miss you, Punter

I think a lot of this comes down to how they look, aesthetically. Shaun Marsh looks like he’s perennially on the verge of tears, while Steve Smith looks like what would happen if a pig mated with a human in some Orwellian experiment gone wrong.

The latter is perhaps a harsh assessment of a man who is being widely touted as our next leader, but still – they don’t breed ’em like they used to.

Anyway, the point of this article is that test cricket is as predictable as it is unpredictable. I do not know how this test match will turn out. Neither does the groundsman, who has admitted that he is scared of the pitch he himself has created.

In short, we may bat first and get rolled for 87, or we may hit 9/607 (dec). We may roll South Africa for 112, or lose by an innings inside three days.

The real winners here, as usual, will be the betting agencies. Game on.

By Dave Edwards

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