SA, Oz in shootout for top spot
Pace-packed South Africa's number one world ranking is on the line in a mouthwatering Test series against an in-form Australia team that starts at Brisbane's Gabba on Friday.cricket Updated: Nov 08, 2012 02:35 IST
Pace-packed South Africa's number one world ranking is on the line in a mouthwatering Test series against an in-form Australia team that starts at Brisbane's Gabba on Friday.
The Proteas, who became the world's top side after an impressive 2-1 series victory in England earlier this year, are looking to repeat their historic series win in Australia four years ago against Michael Clarke's ageing side.
Incentive to win
But the glittering incentive for the home team is that they can usurp South Africa and return to the top of the rankings with victory in the three-Test series, which also includes matches in Adelaide and Perth.
Skipper Graeme Smith said South Africa were taking strength from their first ever series win on Australian soil on their last tour, in 2008-09.
"Obviously, winning here four years ago certainly helps in the self-belief factor, knowing that you've overcome a hurdle before," Smith said.
The Proteas will unleash their formidable pace battery, led by Test cricket's leading pair Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander and backed up by Morne Morkel.
The Gabba pitch traditionally offers early life and bounce, with the South Africans yet to win in three Brisbane visits, the last in 1963.
Australia go into the opening Test without all-rounder Shane Watson, who succumbed to a calf injury and was replaced by left-hander Rob Quiney, who will be making his Test debut.