South Africa hold psychological advantage with Rabada's return - Third Test Preview

Kagiso Rabada's (right) has been cleared to play the final two Tests against Australia
Kagiso Rabada's (right) has been cleared to play the final two Tests against Australia
©REUTERS
 

Game: Third Test, South Africa v Australia
Venue: Newlands in Cape Town
Timings: 22nd to 26th March / 08:30 AM GMT / 10:30 AM Local

Both Australia and South Africa will be keen to seize advantage when they lock horns in the third Test at Newlands in Cape Town with the series levelled at 1-1.

South Africa will surely hold the mental edge after Kagiso Rabada's two-match ban was overturned by the International Cricket Council following an appeal on Monday Rabada, who singlehandedly dominated the second game in Port Elizabeth with an 11-wicket haul was initially banned for the remainder of the series for a contact with Steven Smith following the Australian skipper's dismissal and with Dale Steyn too unavailable, South Africa were pondering on his replacement adding Chris Morris and Duanne Olivier to the squad in the addition to Morne Morkel, who was already present.

However, in a complete turnaround of events, Rabada was cleared to play by the ICC which was welcomed by the South African camp but Smith, as expected, slammed the decision. The pace at which he stunned the Aussie batting line-up will be fresh in the mind of the visitors as they look to take him on a green Newlands pitch.

The batting of the Proteas has been shaky throughout the series with AB de Villiers' sensation unbeaten century being the difference in Port Elizabeth while Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar's grinding knocks too tied down the Australian attack a bit. Temba Bavuma has been declared fit and is likely to take the place of Theunis de Bruyn but Lungi Ngidi is nursing a toe injury which might present another chance for Morne Morkel.

Australia will be boosted by the fitness news on Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Marsh and have retained the same XI that went on to lose the game at Port Elizabeth by six wickets. David Warner and Usman Khawaja scored half-centuries in different innings while Steven Smith had an unusual quite game. Starc could not quite replicate his form from Durban while Josh Hazlewood has managed just seven wickets from four innings which is less going by his standards.

Pat Cummins and Mitchell were impressive in the first innings of the previous game but the other bowlers failed to support them as South Africa led by de Villiers went on to take a massive first innings lead. Smith and Warner will once again be key to their fortune.

Probable Team:

South Africa: 1. Dean Elgar, 2. Aiden Markram, 3. Hashim Amla, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. Faf du Plessis (captain), 6. Temba Bavuma, 7. Quinton de Kock (wk), 8. Vernon Philander, 9. Keshav Maharaj, 10. Kagiso Rabada, 11. Morne Morkel

Australia (confirmed): 1. David Warner, 2. Cameron Bancroft, 3. Usman Khawaja, 4. Steven Smith (captain), 5. Shaun Marsh, 6. Mitchell Marsh, 7. Tim Paine (wk), 8. Mitchell Starc, 9. Pat Cummins, 10. Nathan Lyon, 11. Josh Hazlewood.

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