Battle resumes as Australia take on South Africa in deciding Test

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Updated: November 28, 2012

South Africa and Australia square up for the third and final Test in Perth, at the WACA on Friday with the series locked all square, and the no.1 spot in the Test rankings still up for grabs.

Current holders of that spot, South Africa, survived with a superhuman rearguard effort on Monday at Adelaide, Du Plessis in his Test debut holding fort for more than a day to save the match. After an opening day that saw the home team savage more than 450 runs off the much spoken about Proteas attack, one would have thought that there was no way the visitors would be able to get back in the Test which miraculously they did. Despite yet another superb batting performance by captain Michael Clarke who made history by becoming the first player to score 4 double hundreds in a calender year, South Africa will be the more satisfied and confident of the 2 teams coming into Perth.

Much has been spoken about with regards the Perth wicket, one of the quickest in the world. Morkel, Steyn, Kleinveldt and the fit again Philander will be champing at the bit to bend their backs on this one, it is all about pace and bounce. This means there will be no place for spinner Tahir who had a shocker last time out. Kallis will not fill the role of the 5th seamer due to a hamstring strain he suffered in Adelaide, however he will bat.

Australia’s premier allrounder Shane Watson takes part in the series for the first time following a back injury, and will certainly add quality and depth in both disciplines, Rob Quiney moves aside following a disappointing performance in the second Test. James Pattinson will not feature, a big blow for the Aussies considering his raw pace. Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus have been rested due to fatigue following their monumental efforts on the last day of the second Test in their attempts to bowl the visitors out, while the the dangerous Mitchell Johnson who has taken 30 wickets at the WACA, 11 of those against South Africa in 2008, has been recalled alongside Mitchell Starc, Josh Hastings and Josh Hazlewood.

The standard of batting in this series has been extraordinary, especially from Clarke and Hussey for Australia, and Kallis, Smith, Amla and Du Plessis from South Africa. There will be plenty of runs available as Matthew Hayden showed in 2003 with his then Test record of 380, Gilchrist in 2006 scored the quickest Test hundred off 57 balls and in 2009 Chris Gayle also savaged a hundred in double quick time.

With the series well placed and the battle between bat and ball to be more even, it is going to be an intriguing 5 days of Test cricket.