'Big Moments' Will Decide This Series - Kirsten
South Africa coach Gary Kirsten has brushed aside suggestions that the Australia team his side will face in Brisbane is significantly weakened by the absence of Shane Watson.
Watson is unavailable due to a calf injury and has been replaced by Victoria batsman Robert Quiney, who is set to make his Test debut at the Gabba on Friday (9th November).
Kirsten believes that the match - and the series - will come down to whichever team can prevail in what he calls the 'big moments'. bet365 make the Proteas 11/10 second favourites (Australia are 7/4) to claim the series win.
"Any guy can score runs in a Test match, we have to make sure that we do our business right," Kirsten said when asked about Australia's selection problems.
"We have looked at areas that we can exploit within the Australian team as they would do with us.
"We feel that if we can put pressure on them in certain areas then we can make some plays in those big moments, that is ultimately what the Test series is going to boil down to."
South Africa's on-field preparations consisted of a three-day game against Australia A in Sydney, where there were runs for Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla as well as three wickets for Dale Steyn.
Despite conditions at the S.C.G perhaps not providing Kirsten with the sort of warm-up opportunity he would have liked, he is nevertheless pleased his players have got playing time under their belts.
"Any preparation for a game is good," he said. "It pulls the team together and it allows us to work specifically on what we need to do.
"You don’t always get the ideal conditions that you would like, but you still have to take positives out of it. I think the week we had in Sydney has been crucial to our preparation."
One day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that the first allocation of tickets for the India-Pakistan clash in next year's Champions Trophy was sold out within hours, Test cricket has proved that it can also draw in the crowds.
Ticket sales for the opening Test suggest that Australia may be on track to host its biggest non-Ashes crowd at the Gabba since 1995.
© Cricket World 2012
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