Don’t forget about South Africa

Miles Katay Roar Rookie

By Miles Katay, Miles Katay is a Roar Rookie

 , , ,

28 Have your say

    There’s limited room for sport in the Australian collective psyche, so it’s no surprise that the upcoming tour of South Africa has fallen off the radar somewhat, replaced deservedly by Scotty James, Matt Graham and the rest of the team over in South Korea.

    Overseas cricket tends to attract little attention here in Australia, but there are only two weeks until the first Test and it’d be a shame for it to not receive the coverage and interest that the series deserves.

    A full six consecutive series has been played since 2006 between Australia and South Africa with the away team winning or retaining.

    This record is unparalleled as of late and certainly runs against the modern trend of Test cricket: the only decade during which away teams have fared worse than the 2010s (with a win/loss ratio of 0.545) is the 1870s (where the three first-ever Tests occurred).

    Followers of global Test cricket would be aware of the emergence of South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi, a 21-year old tearaway quick who bowls straight and tall, like Stuart Clark but above 140kph. He was player of the match on debut against India, taking 6/39 in a rampaging second effort to defend a not-quite-imposing 287.

    Between him, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn (if he’s to return, which is unclear at this stage), we should be about to witness the world’s greatest pace attacks up against each other.

    And Sheffield Shield experts have been calling for the debut of Chadd Sayers for years now; Jackson Bird’s hamstring may prove the lifeline for Australia’s premier purveyor of horizontal movement. Four Tests is a long time and there’s every chance that Sayers will get the nod at some point, depending on the selectors’ attitude towards Jhye Richardson.

    Chadd Sayers

    (AAP Image/James Elsby)

    But perhaps most importantly, there’s just something about Australia’s away series; they tend to be far more captivating regardless of the circumstances.

    Australia dominates at home in series wins and the last time a visiting team won a match but lost the series was in 2011 at home to New Zealand.

    Furthermore, it has only happened four times this century. The New Zealand loss, for those interested, featured David Warner remarkably carrying his bat in the fourth innings.

    And on the flipside, Australia’s recent home losses have been crushing, most notably against South Africa last season and the 2010-11 Ashes.

    Anecdotally, almost every interesting series that we’ve played in recent times has come away from home. Not many home efforts compare to Australia’s recent battle in India last year, the gritty, bruising win in South Africa in 2014, and the memorable Ashes of 2013, which was fought much more closely than the 3-0 scoreline would suggest.

    Each Test tells a story regardless of the series scoreline, and so dead rubbers can be as gripping as any other match. But if single Tests are short stories, then series that last until Day 5 of the final Test are novels, rich in context and drama, as epic as any sporting event.

    This March could well provide the platform for a truly memorable set of Tests, and for the emergence of new stars onto the global stage.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (28)

    • February 15th 2018 @ 5:07am
      Mitch said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:07am | ! Report

      S marsh

      The commentators in the series of SA and India made a great point that a all rounder was not needed on these pitches and sides should be batting heavy.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 9:14am
        Paul said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        How do you pick Lehmann when he’s not in the touring party? If you leave out MM, only Handscomb can come in.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 11:49am
        David said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Let’s drop M Marsh – he failed miserably in the Ashes. I mean 320 runs at 106.6 is just not good enough.
        Also, we’ll fly in Lehman and Renshaw just to keep the clueless Mitch happy.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 12:01pm
        Bob Sims said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

        Oops! I’m sure you meant Bancroft instead of Renshaw and M. Marsh instead of Lehmann, didn’t you???

      • February 15th 2018 @ 12:12pm
        mattyb said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        And there we have it from the armchairs.
        Let’s drop MM now that he’s had a brilliant Ashes while including two players not even in the squad.
        Lost are the days when we celebrated Australian cricket because we enjoyed what took place on the field.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 3:14pm
          Paul said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

          nah, you’ve taken this the wrong way Matty. I’m happy for the team to go into the First Test as it finished the last one against the Poms. No need for changes of any kind, especially if the change is going to take an inform batsman out of the side.

          I was only confused by Mitch suggesting Lehmann should play, when the squad’s been picked without him. Maybe he meant Darren?

          • February 15th 2018 @ 3:57pm
            Mitch said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

            Iv actually did get to see a peek at the team that is posted just about everywhere. i made this selection based on the best batsman in australia not the best batsman at making very easy runs against a fairly weak bowling side. I have been very excited for this series just less excited when there is a batting colapse and the hopless roar critics scratching their heads as to why we didnt see such a obvious situation unfold right in front them.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 4:15pm
            Mitch said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

            Adeliade test match was the one test these batsman were actually tested lets have a look at these greats.

            Handscomb- 36,12
            Bancroft- 10,4

            Cant wait to see the court case of the Philander assault class action.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 5:35pm
          Bob Pacey said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

          Afternoon Don, how’s the Doctor today?

          • February 15th 2018 @ 6:54pm
            Don Freo said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:54pm | ! Report


      • February 15th 2018 @ 6:10pm
        the Shafe said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

        You always must have an all rounder.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 9:12am
      Paul said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Sorry, where has the tour to SA off the radar? Just because it’s not reported on a daily basis, doesn’t mean a significant number of people are waiting for the first game to start, not the least being the players. I for one reckon the series will be a beauty.

      I think SA would have something to say as well about your statement that we dominate at home after the shellacking they gave us last year. Sure we’ve beaten other sides pretty well, but then you need to decide whether they were capable of playing in Australian conditions.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 9:56am
        JamesH said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        That was my thought too. I’m pretty sure most Australian test cricket fans care far more about this series than what’s going on in PyeongChang.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 15th 2018 @ 10:49am
        Miles Katay said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        That’s my point really – it’s off the radar for the casual sports fan so it won’t be a platform for cricket to grow. 100% agree the series will be a cracker.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 11:58am
          David said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

          Sorry Miles, your point is wrong. The “casual” sports fans do not follow test cricket – when watching cricket, they are more likely to opt for the BBL.
          Most cricket lovers are eagerly awaiting this series and it promises to be a beauty. Clearly the best two pace attacks in the world – that alone will keep me interested. Whilst the two teams may not be ranked 1 and 2, they are evenly matched with bat and ball.
          After a dissapointing competition against the Poms, I cant wait for this series to start.

          • Roar Rookie

            February 15th 2018 @ 10:28pm
            Miles Katay said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

            Casual sports fans don’t follow Test cricket?

          • February 15th 2018 @ 11:46pm
            Doctor Rotcod said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:46pm | ! Report

            This should be really good.
            Smith,Khawaja and Warner with 14000 runs between them tested by the best fast bowling attack-
            Morkel,Rabada and Philander who have taken 600 wickets between them.

            Elgar,Du Plessis and Amla,who have 22000 runs between them tested by the second best bowling attack- Starc,Hazlewood and Lyon who have 600 between them

            Nothing casual about the level of cricket there

        • Roar Rookie

          February 15th 2018 @ 12:31pm
          Disco Stu said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

          Yeah sorry mate. Nobody’s with you on this one. If you are a cricket fan, you are well aware this series is almost upon us. If you are a casual sports fan, you will never take an interest in an away series where you have to make adjustments for time zones and such.

          My iPhone weather app still has Ranchi and Chittagong screens left over from last year.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 4:59pm
            Don Freo said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

            Winter Olympics especially. Does that engage anyone?

            • February 15th 2018 @ 5:37pm
              Bob Pacey said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

              G’day Matty, how’re things?

    • February 15th 2018 @ 9:28am
      Targa said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      You wrote: “Australia dominates at home in series wins and the last time a visiting team won a match but lost the series was in 2011 at home to New Zealand.”

      That series was a 1-1 draw (only 2 tests)

      • Roar Rookie

        February 15th 2018 @ 10:50am
        Miles Katay said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        Good point. Australia ‘retained’ the series though.

    • Roar Guru

      February 15th 2018 @ 11:37am
      Ryan H said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

      Has the potential to be a truly amazing series.

      Not only is Australia’s record in the past 25-odd years terrific playing in RSA, but they will be wanting to account for the 2-1 defeat a little over a year ago at home.

      Arguably two of the sharpest pace bowling attacks seen in the test arena for quite some time lining up against each other on pitches that could have plenty of spice and green depending on what the home side choose to do. And thankfully, four tests also. Three or more makes a series I feel, and so the fact we could have four absorbing test matches is a wonderful prospect for the sport.

    • Roar Guru

      February 15th 2018 @ 12:29pm
      Paul D said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

      Not sure anyone could forget about South Africa, given channel nine had already moved onto talking about it by day 1 of the 4th test against England

    • February 15th 2018 @ 6:30pm
      DavSA said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

      I watched a bit of the Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh tests recently and it was soooo boring with spinners bowling from both ends forever . Not that I am anti good spin but it was very repetitive and for me unwatchable. This upcoming series will not be that . It is going to be cricket on steroids and will be compelling.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 6:05am
        MANISH K RAO said | February 16th 2018 @ 6:05am | ! Report

        @DavSA So is it okay if Fast bowler operate from both ends forever!!Height of Hippocracy!Recent South Africa test pitches were boring with no help to spinners. Years of doctoring to help fast bowlers from 25 years with no aid to spinners was finally given back by Indian doctored pitches in 2015 !!

        And the result of doctoring by SA is next time they might get whitewashed in home against good spin.

        • February 16th 2018 @ 6:02pm
          DavSA said | February 16th 2018 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

          25 years of doctoring pitches ? no . The policy of the SA Cricket Board was always to leave the pitches with their distinctive characteristics . Only The Wanderers and Centurian were historically pace friendly . Newlands , Kingsmead and St Georges Park were weighted towards the batsmen with Newlands and St Georges Park historically aiding spin on the final day . The practice of doctoring pitches is a recent and for me unwelcome development . It came about as a direct result of the tour to India. Incidentally the first test in the recent India vs SA series was distinctly spin friendly .

    , , ,