Australia vs South Africa 2016: 5 things South Africa should do to come out on top in the second Test
South Africa are on the cusp of another series victory Down Under as a Faf du Plessis-led side take on Australia at Hobart on Saturday. The Proteas have been the visitors with the most success in Australia in recent times, notching up back to back series wins under Graeme Smith in their last two tours.
This series is different though because South Africa are without their best batsman, AB de Villiers as well as strike bowler, Dale Steyn, who succumbed to injury pretty early in the first Test at Perth. Timely contributions from the other members, however, ensured South Africa walked off with an improbable victory, one of their best in these shores, in the first Test.
They are in with a great advantage going into the second Test as the Aussies find themselves forced to bring in new personnel after losing Shaun Marsh and Peter Siddle to injuries. But the world has seen Australian cricket over the years and they rarely go down without a fight.
With players like Steven Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc in their ranks, the Aussies have the line-up to conjure up a victory against a Proteas side missing two big names. Faf commented on how the team is in a strong mental space ahead of the Test at Hobart.
"We rely quite heavily on being a very resilient team," du Plessis had said. "We're full of resilient players and personalities. If you look back on past performances here's been a lot of occasions when we are really under massive pressure and somehow a few of the guys who are really resilient fight really hard to get back in the game. That's always been a strong trait of this team."
While Faf has a point, South Africa are not devoid of weaknesses and a wounded Australian side is a dangerous proposition to face on a wet pitch.
On that note, take a look at five things South Africa should do to grab yet another series win:
#5 Bring Stephen Cook to the party
Stephen Cook has been the one Proteas player with severe pressure on him going into the series. His batting at Perth was an exhibition of weakness as he struggled against Starc and Hazlewood. His indecisiveness at the crease cost Proteas an early wicket in the first innings as he edged to gully for a duck.
Cook is a fine player, with a tremendous domestic record and has the ability to dig in and fight through tight spells of bowling. He may have displayed none of that in Perth, but that is possibly due to him feeling that he is playing for a place in the side. A bit of confidence is what the opener needs right now and Faf has to be the one to provide it.
Cook is a vital player at the top of the order and a good opening stand in conditions favouring seam bowling will put South Africa in a good position.