Demoralised Australia face an uphill task of saving series - Fourth Test Preview

Tim Paine has a stiff challenge in front of him
Tim Paine has a stiff challenge in front of him
©REUTERS
 

Game: 2nd Test - South Africa v Australia
Venue: New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Timings: 30th March to 3rd April, 08:00 AM GMT / 10:00 AM Local

Following a controversial last one week, a demoralised Australia side head to Johannesburg with a hope of levelling the series against South Africa.

The Baggy Green side were hammered both on and off the field following the ball-tampering scandal that broke out. Steven Smith's admission to the pre-planned act not just led to him being sacked as a captain but now he faces a 12-month ban along with David Warner. Opener Cameron Bancroft, who was caught doing the act also has been banned for nine months.

Australia will be wary of the backlash from the public when they head to Johannesburg with their rich baggy green culture at stake. Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns have flown away from Australia and are in contention for the final Test while it has been a complete turn-around for Tim Paine, who now will lead the side. All three batsmen have exhibited terrific form at the domestic level and now has been rewarded with a chance even though not under the best of the situations.

South Africa's 322 run victory in the third Test meant a draw will be enough for them to complete a double against Australia. Skipper Faf du Plessis said they have enough on and off the field to work on the Australians and they will be desperate to give a perfect send-off to Morne Morkel, who claimed a nine-wicket haul in the Cape Town Test.

Dean Elgar batted all the way through in the first innings while Aiden Markram pressured on the pressure on Australia in the second innings with a half-century. AB de Villiers did no harm to his reputation with twin fifties in the Cape Town game to go with an unbeaten century in the second Test. South Africa are likely to retain the same combination with Morkel featuring for them one final time before his retirement from international cricket.

Probable Team:

South Africa: 1. Aiden Markram, 2. Dean Elgar, 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: 1. Matt Renshaw, 2. Joe Burns, 3. Usman Khawaja, 4. Shaun Marsh, 5. Peter Handscomb, 6. Mitchell Marsh, 7. Tim Paine (wk) (captain), 8. Mitchell Starc, 9. Pat Cummins, 10. Josh Hazlewood, 11. Nathan Lyon

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