(At the time of writing, the squad is unconfirmed)
Adelaide Oval will see a very fierce battle begin on Thursday, as the Aussies take on South Africa in the second test.
With the first match at the Gabba ending in a draw, Michael Clarke will be looking to put the South Africans back in their box. Having had the entirety of Day 2 of the first test washed out, making the chance of an outright result small, both teams will be looking to stamp their mark on the series.
Now, with the series moving to a pitch that can give into spin on Days 4 and 5, the biggest battle will be that of the batters.
Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and AB De Villiers all established their presence at the Gabba. Then again, so did Ed Cowan, Clarke and Michael Hussey. Adelaide has also produced some very high first innings totals in the past few years, and if one team digs in, then the possibility of 500 is quite likely.
While I believe the batting will be won by the Australians, they have to back it up in two different areas. Firstly, the batting itself; the Aussies cannot be reliant on Clarke, Cowan and Hussey to steer the ship again. No doubt they will be feeling good about their form, but lightning can’t strike in the same place twice, can it?
If David Warner plays ahead of Shane Watson, (the latter pending a fitness review) he must fire, or risk losing his test spot. Watson has also stated that he will not bowl if selected.
My biggest furore is over Watson. He is a massive asset, being able to open the batting and bowl countless overs. However, if he is not at full strength, he should not be in the side. Warner’s stats certainly point to him being on the outer, but Adelaide may just be his reprieve.
For the Aussies, the bowling attack has been a big talking point since the completion of the first test. I would like to see Mitchell Starc come in to the team, but who to replace I am not sure. His left-arm bowling will give the Australians variety, and also have the South African batsmen working harder against a right/left bowling combination.
On the Proteas side, the loss of JP Duminy is huge. While Ashwell Prince and Francois Du Plessis have been touted as replacements, Duminy is extremely valuable, both as a batter and fielder. It will come down to Kallis and Amla trying to hold down the fort again. If Siddle and the rest of the bowling crew are able to find steady legs from the get-go, South Africa do not stand a chance.
And on the bowling side, while Steyn, Morkel and Philander were good early against the Australians, their pace and guile wore off on Day 4 as they were hit to all parts of the ground.
Adelaide has produced some interesting results since the Ashes test in 2006. If the Australians get on top early, it is bye-bye South Africa.