Only two teams – South Africa and India – have beaten Australia in a Test series at home in the last 15 years. Dale Steyn in South Africa in every case and jasprit bumrah In India, a fast bowler played a major role.
This is not to say that the fast bowler did it all on his own – he had a lot of help – but the fast bowler set a leading example. Most notable of those victories was India’s win in 2020-21, as they got bowled out for 36, dismissed their captain at home, injured Bumrah in the final Test, and still Australia was defeated at Fort Gabba. It was an incredible feat under the leadership of India’s then junior fast bowler Mohammad Siraj.
The pace similarity is even more apparent if you explore Australia’s Test history as a whole. England dominated in 1932–33 with Harold Larwood a genuine fast bowling threat. England, whose sensible captains Len Hutton and Ray Illingworth leapfrogged for pace, again dominated Australia with the successful fast bowlers of Frank ‘Typhoon’ Tyson in 1954–55 and John Snow in 1970–71. This was followed by the West Indies’ turn for a period of 15 years, where they stunned Australia at home, winning four times with a successful quartet of very good fast bowlers. There is no doubt that South Africa have the quality of fast bowling to be successful in Australia. The big question is whether the fragile batting line-up can score enough runs to give their bowlers a chance of victory.
During previous victorious series in Australia there was always at least one class batsman in the opposition which helped the fast bowlers make victories possible.
This is where South Africa’s downfall as they only have the captain Dean Elgar As a proven artist in Australia. Elgar is a tough competitor but not a class batsman.
South Africa will need useful contributions from their other batsmen if they are going to produce match-winning totals. South Africa’s batting woes add to the Australian attack. A major reason for Australia’s strength and their recent success at home has been a very strong bowling line-up. A little disappointed by the loss of Josh Hazlewood, at least from the Gabba contest, Australia are still strong in bowling.
Much of South Africa’s success or otherwise would come under Elgar’s leadership. If he captains the bowlers sensibly enough to trouble Australia’s batsmen then this will turn out to be an interested contest. However, if the Aussie batsmen are able to counter their pace opponents, the home side will secure a comfortable win.
While genuine fast bowling provides a well-known path in Australia, it does not always guarantee victory. Now South Africa need to bowl and field brilliantly to win and also build some decent totals.
Also read: Australia beat South Africa inside two days