Australia vs South Africa: Preview and Prediction

Australia lead the three-match Test series 1-0

It has been a disappointing start to South Africa’s tour to Australia as visitors lost the first Test. The second Test of Australia vs South Africa will begin on Monday at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia. The hosts had a comfortable win in their first Test and would be looking forward to dominating the Boxing Day Test as well.

South Africa is in a tough spot right now and to make sure that they remain the contender for the World Test Championship trophy, the Proteas will have to win the second Test.

The Australian bowling department was ferocious with their attacks on the visitors. In both innings, Australian bowlers turned out to be the match-winning factor. Aussies are getting the benefit of the home conditions but as they come on a different pitch to play the second Test, they might find a major roadblock from the visitors.

It was a shock to see the South African batter departing early and without contributing anything to the team’s success. The Gabba pitch turned out to be a bowling paradise as the South African bowlers also did a great job by eliminating the Australian batters. However, the Proteas would like to make a comeback against the hosts in the second Test fixture.

What have they done so far?

Travis Head was the difference between the two sides in the first Test

Travis Head was the difference between the two sides in the first Test

One of the greenest tracks was prepared for the 1st Test at Gabba, where the batters from both sides had a really hard time. In-form Australian batter Travis Head proved to be the difference as he scored 92 runs with 13 fours and a six in the first innings. 

Steven Smith (36) was the only other batter who was able to cross the 30-run mark in the first innings. Australia would hope for David Warner and World Number One Test batter Marnus Labuschagne to step up and score in an important match with keeping WTC finals in mind. 

Pacers were on fire for Australia on a pitch that provided excess pace and bounce, Captain Pat Cummins picked up 7 wickets along with a 5-for in the second innings, while Mitchell Starc registered 5 wickets to his name. Spinner Nathan Lyon and young pace gun Scott Boland also scalped 4 wickets each in the match. 

For South Africa, Kyle Verreyne was the only batter who looked comfortable on the crease, scoring 64 runs in the first innings and following it with a 2-ball duck in the second innings. Temba Bavuma scored 38 runs in the first innings while Khaya Zondo scored 36* in the 2nd innings as none of the batters was able to cross the 30-run mark. 

Regardless of the pitch in the 2nd Test, the South African batting has looked in shambles and would face a tough task as they take on the Australian bowling attack in the Boxing Day tests. 

Kagiso Rabada was the best bowler of the match, picking up 8 wickets including 4 wickets in the 4th innings when Australia was chasing just 34 runs to win. Rabada dismissed Warner twice in the match and provided the opening wicket for South Africa. 

Marco Jansen on the other hand impressed the fans as he dismissed #1 ranked Marnus Labuschagne on the first ball of his spell. Anrich Nortje was also effective, dismissing Australia’s highest scorer in Tests this year, Usman Khawaja on the 2nd ball of his spell. 

Head to Head Record

The second Test between Australia and South Africa at the MCG is set to be a landmark event as it will be the 100th game between the two teams in the format. Australia has historically had dominance in this fixture with the Kangaroos winning 53 of these games whilst South Africa has won 26. 20 of these fixtures have ended in a draw.

Meanwhile, this will be the 43rd game between the two sides in Australia of which the Baggy Greens have won 22 encounters whilst the Proteas have won 10. 10 of the other fixtures have ended in draws.

Key Players

Marnus Labuschagne is currently leading the batting charts in the Test format

Marnus Labuschagne is currently leading the batting charts in the Test format

Marnus Labuschagne (Australia): Marnus Labsuchagne has been in the form of his life in the Test arena. He is expected to be the star batter for Australia, especially in the home conditions. The right-hander recently scored a double century against West Indies and he can play the long innings. It will be a key attribute against a quality opposition like South Africa.

Anrich Nortje (South Africa): Anrich Nortje with his pace is going to be the X-factor for South Africa and he had a terrific T20 World Cup recently. The speedster is capable of clocking 150 Kmph consistently and will enjoy the bouncy conditions in Australia. He has played just four Tests this year and is likely to be at his best in the upcoming game.

Predicted Playing XI

Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins (C), Scott Boland, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon

South Africa: Dean Elgar (C), Sarel Erwee, Khaya Zondo, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Gerald Coetzee


One has to go back to 1931 for the last time a Test match in Australia ended within two days. Until this past Sunday, when Australia defeated South Africa in a whirlwind encounter which saw the hosts chase down 34, but lose four wickets in the process. 

As expected, South Africa’s bowlers kept them in this game, particularly Kagiso Rabada, who gained eight wickets across the Test including all four Australian wickets across their run chase. However, the Proteas batters let the team down with the visitors bowled out for 152 and 99.

Ultimately, it’s hard to see a different outcome in this second Test when you weigh up the South African batting line-up, which is clearly a man short compared to the quality and class of Australia’s pace bowling unit, combined with Nathan Lyon’s spin. 

Expect an improvement at least in terms of the scores in the tourists’ first and second innings, but Australia to ultimately come out on top once again in the Boxing Day Test.