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Where South Africa will be targeting Australia in the four-Test series

03 March 2018

South Africa asked for pitches with plenty of pace and bounce during India's recent tour, leading to early finishes and a Test at the Wanderers nearly being abandoned because of safety concerns.

The coming pace shootout between Australia and South Africa could be sullied by slow pitches, with Nathan Lyon quipping his homeland is the only country where curators enjoy autonomy.

Smith - who captained the Proteas for 11 years before retiring in 2014 - had many battles against the Aussies in the past, has backed his countrymen to bounce back from recent defeats to India, although that was in limited-overs cricket. If South Africa can get the ball to move in the air, that will be hugely beneficial to them. Australia has the Ashes winning trio of Starc, Hazelwood and Cummins raring to go. "South Africa are more used to playing the moving ball".

"The pace and bounce doesn't necessarily bother them, conditions are not so foreign".

With the first two matches to be played on slower surfaces in Durban and Port Elizabeth, Australia must ensure they keep up with the hosts in the initial part of the series. However, only captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, veteran spinner Nathan Lyon and Shaun Marsh are remnants of that victorious Australian Test squad.

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"He's obviously a very good player but it's similar to what I said about the Indian team".

"We're just going to have to assess the conditions and go for it".

"You need to hold Australia, find a way to take the game deep, then you start to create doubt in the Australian line-up", the former Proteas skipper told Independent Media.

South African batsman AB de Villiers spent the better past of a year ago out with injury, but he returned to his high-scoring ways immediately on comeback.

There was one neat subplot to the final day of the warm-up match, as the tourists got the chance to make the newly selected South Africa batsman Wiaan Mulder feel as unwelcome as possible as the fixture headed towards an Australian victory.

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South Africa recently defeated India 2-1 in a home series and will be desperate to get off to a good start at Kingsmead on Thursday. "Having the ability to beat them in Australia is an encouraging factor knowing that the last time we played against each other we had the upper hand".

Steve Smith's men emphatically regained the Ashes with a 4-0 hammering of England before Faf du Plessis' team brought top-ranked side India back down to earth with a 2-1 win.

Three of them - Khawaja, Bancroft and Mitch Marsh - are yet to play a Test in South Africa and both of the West Australians average less than 30 at Test level.

"With Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc and the five South Africa quicks they have - that is a bloody good attack".

Numerous senior Proteas players, including skipper Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, at various stages missed some the white-ball stuff against the Indians.

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Where South Africa will be targeting Australia in the four-Test series