Sunday, December 14, 2008

Australia vs South Africa: My Preview

Here we are again. Less than 48 hours remain before the start of the Australia-South Africa Test series. Highly anticipated by many, including myself, for some of the most compelling Test cricket I have seen, especially as a neutral, has been in Tests involving these two teams. A packed MCG for Warne's 300th Test wicket, and a spectacular spell from Allan Donald to the Waugh brothers remain firmly etched in memory. With any luck, a fast bouncy track this week will ensure that Steyn, Morkel, Lee and Johnson create a few new highlights.

I expect Australia to win, with runs for Ponting in particular, simply because they have, in my book, a far superior batting lineup. Steyn and Morkel look to have world class potential, but neither can claim to be the finished article yet, and if they're not careful, the WACA will be a curse rather than a blessing. More than one visiting paceman has lost the plot and pitched the ball far too short over here, and you can expect that the Australians will not make that mistake.

It appears that the game is not sold out - surprising, considering Perth's large South African population. Unfortunately, that's unlikely to make a difference for those of us queueing up for a seat in the Member's enclosure. A 2am drive down to the WACA looks to be the order of the day, though with any luck, I can sleep in until 4am after the first day.

A comfy chair, a seat cushion, a good book, some cryptic crosswords, my Sansa mp3 player ($20 - beat that, iPod!!) and plenty of food and drink will get me through to gates opening at 9:30 and the 11:30 start of play. 9 and a half hours of waiting, followed by 6 hours of cricket. And as always, the funniest part will be watching those who queued up in order to do their knitting, and then leave at tea-time in order to beat the traffic. Unbelievable, but it happens every year.

After my brush with WACA authority this weekend - I was booted out of the Member's for not wearing a collared shirt, or as someone else suggested, for not being old enough or white enough - I shall be suitably attired. Instead of my smart long-sleeved shirt and trousers, which were deemed unacceptable, I will wear scruffy shorts and a collared T-shirt, and sure enough, they'll wave me right on in. Quite incredible.

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