It’s the start of massive Australian summer! This time around Australia will host Proteas, Blackcaps, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Australia kick off their home season with a 3-match test series against South Africa, followed by a brief one-day series against New Zealand.

Picture Source: AFP
Picture Source: AFP

Pakistan are to play a day-night test at Gabba along with Boxing day and new year test followed by a 5 Match ODI series in Jan. Then after a short tour to NZL, Aussie come back again to host T20s against SL.

Starting the season against South Africa, Australia have got bitter memories of playing against Proteas at the WACA. In 2008 South Africa chased down a mammoth 414 while in 2012 in Ricky Ponting’s last test, Australia again lost to South Africa by whopping 309 runs. South Africa are the only team to beat Australia twice on their home turf in last 10 years. And they will be fancying their chances again to repeat the heroics of 2012.

Picture Source: Getty images
Picture Source: Getty images

Australia will be seeking some solace from the fact that they are playing at home, playing in front of their home crowd, playing in conditions that they are used to. This was very much needed after their horror show in Sri Lanka. Talking about the team, they have left Joe Burns out who had a miserable time when he last played for Aussies.

Fast bowler Peter Siddle will make a comeback to the Australian team. Shaun Marsh will open with David Warner. A solid middle order of Khawaja, Smith, Voges, Mitchell Marsh and Peter Neville, the pace attack of Siddle, Starc and Hazelwood with Nathan Lyon taking care of spin department makes a formidable combination for Aussies.

The man that South Africa will miss the most is the same batsman who scored 100s in South Africa’s previous to wins at Perth – Mr.360°. Other than that South Africa have got all their bases covered. Since the Bangladesh tour in July 2015, South Africa have gone through a lean patch in test cricket. Series defeats against India, England had thrown them down to No.6 in ICC Rankings.

They salvaged some pride after beating New Zealand at Centurion in August. One reason for their downfall is the lack of stability at the top of order. After Alviro Petersen’s retirement, the Elgar-Van Zyl combination was given ample time, only to find out that it isn’t working out. They might have found a solution to their opening woes in form of First class veteran Stephen Cook who scored solid 115 on test debut at Supersport Park vs England.

Bavuma is likely to replace ABD in the middle order of Amla, Faf, JP. De Kock will keep wickets. South Africa have got problems of plenty in pace attack, they will have to pick 3 among Steyn, Morkel, Rabada and Philander. South Africa have picked 2 uncapped spinners, Keshav Maharaja and Tabraiz Shamsi. Shamsi is likely to get the nod as he being a chinaman can provide variety to the attack.

This series promises to be a cracker of a one. After Perth, teams move to Hobart for 2nd test on 11th November and then the awaited Day-Night test at Adelaide Oval on November 24th.