Tuesday, 20 November 2012 11:59
ADELAIDE: South Africa are targeting prolific Australian skipper Michael Clarke as they aim to break a five-decade winless drought in the Adelaide Test and seize the initiative in the three-match series.
The top-ranked Proteas were forced to bat out for a draw in the first Brisbane Test after Australia racked up an imposing first innings score of 565 for five declared, Clarke leading the way with an unbeaten 259.
South African skipper Graeme Smith expects his vaunted bowling line-up to fire at the Adelaide Oval in the match starting on Thursday, where South Africa have not won in 48 years.
"I just don't think we backed up well enough in Brisbane," he said. "We had periods when we were good, then we lost our way a little bit.
"We didn't really bowl well in partnerships to create enough pressure on Australia's batting. Hopefully that will happen in Adelaide."
Pacemen Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel had the hosts rocking at 40-3 before Clarke, Ed Cowan (136) and Michael Hussey (100) launched their rescue act.
Morkel plans more short-pitched stuff, particularly at Clarke.
"Definitely that is a plan to always use a short ball -- you have got two short balls an over so why not use it?" Morkel said.
"We just need to use it in a clever way and see how we go from there.
"Clarke played very, very well. If we can create more pressure and try and stop him from rotating strike that will be key."
Clarke was named the man-of-the-match in Brisbane after his third double-century of a year in which he is the highest scorer in Tests with 1,041 runs at an average of 115.66.
South African all-rounder Faf du Plessis is expected to make his debut in place of JP Duminy, out for six months with a ruptured Achilles tendon, and leg-spinner Imran Tahir is likely to replace paceman Rory Kleinveldt, ineffective and wicketless on his debut.
Australia all-rounder Shane Watson, who missed the first Test, has been battling to prove his fitness from a calf injury.
A decision will be made on Wednesday or the morning of the match on his inclusion, but former captain Ricky Ponting said Watson could not play if he was anything less than 100 percent fit.
"There will be a certain amount of running he will have to do to prove that he's right to play a Test match," Ponting said Tuesday.
"No one can go into a Test match 70 percent fit. I don't care if you're a batsman and a slip fielder. If you can't bat at 100 percent, then you are putting pressure on other blokes as well."
Rookie batsman Rob Quiney, who was added to the squad when Watson pulled out of the series opener in Brisbane, is expected to play if Watson fails to prove his fitness.
Local spinner Nathan Lyon, who took four wickets in the first Test, is expected to bowl plenty of overs on his home ground, which is renowned for big totals.
Australian coach Mickey Arthur has likened the Adelaide wicket to those on the subcontinent.
"Adelaide's been pretty consistent, Adelaide's a very, very good wicket," he said.
"You know what you get, it's almost like the subcontinent. It's very slow for the first three days then quickens up towards the back end.
"It goes from being the best batting wicket in the world to being pretty difficult to bat on in days four and five. So, big first innings are the way to go there."
South Africa last won in Adelaide in January 1964, beating Bobby Simpson's team by 10 wickets. They have subsequently lost two and drawn one at the Oval.
The final Test starts in Perth on November 30.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012