The Gabba will be the first battleground for the Australians during their 2012-2013 home summer. First opponent: South Africa.
The Proteas have begun the fiery banter, throwing several wild shots at the Australian team. Some say the Aussies aren’t ready for the strong pace attack that is Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. I say they’re wrong, and we won’t know the answer until the two teams clash starting the 9th of November.
On to the match now, and it looks as though there were will be plenty of fierce battles fought. Let’s take a look:
James Pattinson v Dale Steyn: The newbie versus the veteran. Pattinson burst onto the Aussie scene last year, but his summer was cruelled by injury. Exciting young fast bowler with some brilliant outswing. Steyn, on the other hand, is a veteran, and despite his 179cm height, is still a tremendously good bowler. Amazing swing bowler, and could teach Pattinson a few handy lessons.
Jacques Kallis v Shane Watson: The prime all-rounders for each team, it will be interesting to see who gets the better of the Gabba conditions. Will it be Watson, who is currently in stellar from? Maybe Kallis, the man who has over 12,000 test runs, almost 300 test wickets, and is 37?
Mickey Arthur v Gary Kirsten: It is South Africa v South Africa in the head coach ranks. Arthur will know the tactics and strengths of the South African team well, having coached them before moving to Australia. His advice will be vital to the Aussie batters, as they face up to the fearsome pace attack. More importantly, the Aussie bowlers will learn how to bowl to the South African bats-De Villiers, Duminy, Kallis and the like.
Kirsten has enormous batting and bowling depth in his side. Expect some fireworks between both teams as they go head to head.
Who to watch:
Dale Steyn: Might have dropped a bit in pace but is still one of the most intimidating bowlers around. Can swing it both ways and has a knack of putting batsmen in a fix.
Peter Siddle: Aussie workhorse bowler who never seems to stop. Gives it his absolute all and reaps rewards. Will be a handful for the Proteas.
Ricky Ponting: The question has been asked: when will he have his swan song? Given his Sheffield Shield form, the answer may be a while away. Looks to have found some of his natural sublime footwork.
Hashim Amla: The rock. Capable of playing a long innings, while at the same time giving the crowd plenty to watch. The incredible batting line-up of the South Africans will provide excellent support for Amla.
It all comes down to the boil next Friday. Until then, only imagination will guide us in our thoughts.