Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test – Bellerive Oval at 23:30 live on BT Sport 3
A week after South Africa’s latest Perth Test match victory, the second of three Tests between the tourists and hosts Australia gets underway on Saturday morning in Hobart.
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The first Test ebbed and flowed in a way that the games longest form is supposed to. At 32-4 on the first morning, South Africa scrapped their way to 242 before Australia found themselves racing along at 158-0 in reply. This soon became 203-7 and then 244 all out as the home side collapsed in a heap against a Dale Steyn-less South African attack.
At 45-2 second time around Australia remained favourites before centuries from JP Duminy and Dean Elgar led the visitors to an unassailable lead. Even a bowler light, South Africa sealed victory by a huge 177 runs late on day five to take a on-nil lead heading into Hobart and Adelaide.
Steve Smith’s Australia have now lost their last four Test matches, having been defeated three-nil in Sri Lanka last time out. Victory for stand in skipper Faf du Plessis this week could see him take over the Test stewardship full time from the injured AB de Villiers.
This is a ground that Australia have a fine record at having only ever lost one Test. That match in question was a stunner as New Zealand won in 2011 by the narrowest of seven run margins.
Sadly day one is looking like it could be a washout, with a 90% chance of rain occurring throughout Saturday. Sunday isn’t looking much better before things improve considerably on days 3,4 &5. There will be strong winds present so naturally this could all change, but at the moment be careful backing a winner before the off as any rain that does arrive will only shorten that draw price.
Here’s a list of sides 1st innings scores at Hobart in the last five Tests along with the winner/result of each Test in bold text –
2015 – 1st inns – 583/4d (AUS), 2nd inns – 223 (WI) – AUS
2012 – 1st inns – 450/5d (AUS), 2nd inns – 336 (SL) – AUS
2011 – 1st inns – 150 (NZ), 2nd inns – 136 (AUS) – NZ
2010 – 1st inns – 519/8d (AUS), 2nd inns – 301 (PAK) – AUS
2007– 1st inns – 542/5d (AUS), 2nd inns – 246 (SL) – AUS
Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 448
Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 248
NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings of the Test)
Form Guide & First Inns Runs
Here are Australia‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
244 (L) 379 (L) 106 (L) 203 (L) 505 (W) 562 (W) 176/2 (D) 551/3d (W) 583/4d (W) – Average 348
Here are South Africa‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
242 (W) 481/8d (W) 263 (D) 475 (W) 313 (L) 627/7d (D) 214 (L) 121 (L) 79 (L) 214 (D) – Average 302
Australia will be forced into two changes; one with the bat and one with the ball. Shaun Marsh has a broken finger and will miss the rest of the series whilst Peter Siddle has a bad back. Joe Mennie or Jackson Bird will replace Siddle, whilst Joe Burns is likely to regain his place after being dropped for Marsh before the final Test in Colombo. 31 year-old batsman Callum Ferguson has also been added to the squad as Adam Voges has a hamstring niggle. Voges made a double hundred on this ground last year. Opening bat David Warner carried his bat here with an unbeaten ton during that seven run defeat to New Zealand five years ago whilst captain Smith has only ever batted once at Hobart, making just ten runs. Concerns linger over Mitchell Marsh batting at six given his Test average is a lowly 23.1 in 31 innings whilst wicket-keeper Peter Nevill showed admirable fight in Perth with knocks of 23 off 66 balls and 60* off 153 balls. Hazlewood (below) will lead the seam attack alongside Mitchell Starc and one of Mennie/Bird. Off spinner Nathan Lyon needs to bounce back from a poor showing at Perth. Match figures of 44-4-184-2 can surely be written off as a one-off, however the rain forecast might mean he won’t get many overs to redeem himself.
South Africa will also need to make a change given Dale Steyn’s shoulder injury that has ruled him out for upwards of six months. All-rounder and uncapped paceman Dwaine Pretorious joins the squad, but Steyn’s replacement is likely to be either Kyle Abbott or Morne Morkel. Vernon Philander and MOM Kagiso Rabada bowled with great heart, sharing 12 wickets during the 1st Test. What was most impressive about the runs compiled by the tourists was the fact Hashim Amla only contributed one run. Dean Elgar is becoming consistent as an opening bat with five centuries to his name now, four of which have been made at the top of the order. 37 and 32 from du Plessis at Perth suggests the skipper is in decent touch whilst Duminy (below) appears to finally be delivering the weight of runs his class has promised for many years. Wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock won this column first innings top run scorer at 8.0 at Perth, as contributions of 84 and 64 went alongside a tidy performance with the gloves. Temba Bavuma’s 1st innings of 51 was arguably worth double having come in at 32-4. His career average of 38.3 will surely only improve with each match.
Ones To Watch
Josh Hazlewood has fond memories of this venue, having taken 4-45 and 3-33 during Australia’s innings win here last year against the West Indies. Right arm seamer Hazlewood has now taken 82 wickets at 26.9 apiece during his 21 Test matches to date and is a key man in Smith’s XI.
JP Duminy made his South Africa Test debut during their tour to Australia some eight years ago. He has since only played 37 Test matches as he has been in and out the side due to failing to live up to expectations. His second innings 141 at Perth last week could just be the making of him as he approaches his 33rd birthday.
Given the forecast, whoever bats first I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 290-295 mark.
Top First Innings Batsman Market
Peter Nevill looked as good as any Australian bat during the first Test and if we expect batting to be hard work, it always makes sense to look down the order. He can be backed at 15.0 at Betvictor to top score here.
Faf du Plessis loves a dig in and excels in occupying when the going gets tough – there’s some value in backing him to top score for his South Africa outfit at 10.0 with Bet365.
Prices correct at time of writing.