The home team currently leads the WTC points table, while South Africa is currently in second place. The home team increased its lead even further with a recent 2-0 home dominant victory over the West Indies.
It is imperative for South Africa to win this series and keep their chances of reaching the WTC finals ahead of Sri Lanka and India. South Africa have not lost a Test series against Australia since 2008 and the Proteas bowlers will look to take advantage of the lightness and resilience of the Australian fields.
The Proteas bowling department will be led by ace bowler Kagiso Rabada, who’s also South Africa’s top wicket-taker this year with 37 scalps to his name in 7 matches. All-rounder Marco Jansen will shoulder the pace bowling department with Kagiso Rabada as the young pacer has picked 32 wickets this year in 6 matches.
Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, and Keshav Maharaj will form the bowling department along with Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen to take on Australian batting in a crucial series for WTC. Keegan Petersen was ruled out of South Africa’s three-Test tour of Australia because of a hamstring tear.
Opener Ousmane Khawaja was the top scorer for the home team in this year’s Test, scoring 1,066 runs in 9 matches with an amazing average of 82.00. Usman Khawaja has already made 4 milestones and 5 fifties in 2022. On the other hand, Marnus Labuschagne, currently the No. 1 Test hitter, is in impeccable form and has scored 927 runs with a 61.80 average this year. Steve Smith, Travis Head and David Warner will make a strong team.
While the hosts will miss their best pacer Josh Hazlewood in the 1st Test, one of the young pacers Scott Boland and pace sensation Lance Morris will get a chance. Scott Boland has 14 wickets to his credit in three games this year, and Lance Morris has yet to make his debut.
Spinner Nathan Lyon has been the home team’s best player this year with 39 points in nine games, while paceman captain Pat Cummins is also among the wickets with 28 points in eight games. Pacer Mitchell Stark has accounted for 27 wickets this year and it will not be easy for the Belgian players to cope with the Australian bowling in their usual conditions.
Home advantage, a strong and in-form squad, and a consistent and reliable pace attack put Australia in a strong position ahead of this match.
The opponent will undoubtedly be Australia’s toughest test at home this summer. The Belgians have a quality bowling attack and a promising roster of players. Nevertheless, Australia’s current form and overall squad make them the favorites to win the 1st Test.