Australia vs South Africa 2016: 5 things South Africa should do to win the first Test
A take on Proteas' check list ahead of the first Test at Perth, starting on November 3.
When the Faf du Plessis-led South African side take on Australia in Perth on November 3, lots would have changed from the Proteas side that last beat the Aussies Down Under. Then, Graeme Smith was leading the Proteas and the team had a familiar look to it with the likes of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers offering their towering presence in the middle order.
Now, Kallis and Smith have retired. De Villiers is nursing his elbow after a surgery and Faf, the newbie on their last trip is at the helm of the Test team. He has a couple of well-experienced guys at the top of the order in Amla and Duminy and some old hands with the ball as well in Steyn and Morkel. That they play on Perth, a surface that has been good to them in their last few visits here will give South Africa confidence going into the first Test. But then they are up against the Aussies and nothing is guaranteed.
Let us take a look at five things the Proteas should be looking to do to draw first blood in the series.
#1 Containing David Warner
Easier said than done. Containing David Warner will be of utmost priority for the South African bowling attack. Warner relishes the bounce on offer at Perth and with the batting paradise the ground has turned into recently, he would be licking his lips at the prospect of facing the hit-the-deck pace bowlers in the Proteas line-up.
His last innings against them was a brilliant 178 in the final ODI of the One Day series in South Africa. His ability to hook and pull with authority makes him a headache for the likes of Rabada and Morkel, who like to push it in short. Unless they find ways of dismissing this man, they will have a tough start to the series.
Where South Africa can start is by giving him fewer freebies at the start and reducing the run flow. Once Warner is stuck in a rut, there are chances he would take on good balls and lose his wicket. Steyn could be South Africa's trump card against the diminutive Australian opener.