Australia and South Africa aiming to seize initiative in Test series at Adelaide Oval
By Graeme Mair - Twitter: @gmair 1. Last Updated: 21/11/12 12:56pm
Australia and South Africa renew battle on Thursday at the Adelaide Oval with both teams needing an improvement from their bowlers.
The opening game of the three-match series in Brisbane ended in a high-scoring draw, including innings of 259 not out from Australia skipper Michael Clarke and centuries for his team-mates Ed Cowan and Michael Hussey along with South Africans Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis.
With vice-captain Shane Watson again ruled out by injury, Australia have named an unchanged team.
And Clarke is confident his bowling attack - Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon - can continue the improvement that was evident in the second innings of the first Test when they reduced South Africa to 166-5 before running out of time.
"We took 14 South African wickets (in Brisbane) where they took five of ours," said Clarke. "I think we've got a good combination. We've got a good mixture of aggression but also bowlers who can bowl long spells and dry runs up if required.
"Generally in Adelaide, you have to bowl quite tight during periods of the game."
South Africa will make two changes to their starting XI, Faf du Plessis in at number six for the injured JP Duminy and leg-spinner Imran Tahir replacing seam-bowling all-rounder Rory Kleinveldt, who went wicketless on debut at The Gabba.
Skipper Graeme Smith thinks Tahir, who has 26 wickets in his 10 previous Tests, can trouble Australia's left-handers in particular.
"Hopefully there's a lot of rough (from the fast bowlers' foot marks), not for me, but for the Australian left-handers and he's certainly used the rough well in the times he's played for us," said Smith.
"Naturally, he'll be anxious to always do well, that's Imran's personality, but he's contributed in key ways for us over the last few Test matches and his role is important.
"Not everything is going to go your way in Test cricket, but you have to be able to find a way to contribute over those five days and I think Imran has done that well for us and I think all of us would love to see him pick up a huge wicket haul. Imran is the frontline spinner and we've backed him."
Smith accepts South Africa's position as the top-ranked Test side in the world means their performances are judged to a higer standard.
"For us a disappointment in a draw is good for us, it shows that people expect us to play well and to perform well and that's exciting for us," he said.
"We come to Adelaide knowing there are a few areas where we can definitely improve on."
Adelaide has the reputation of being a high-scoring ground that turns for the spinners on days four and five. There is usually a result, with only three draws in the last 21 Tests dating back to 1992.
South Africa have not done well at the South Australian venue since readmission, losing in 1994 and 2001 and drawing in 1998.
Kallis is the only survivor in the touring party from those matches, he played in 1998 and 2001 and scored one half-century in four innings.