Steyn and Morkel looking to target Clarke

Updated: November 20, 2012

Australia and South Africa resume their Test series Down Under at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday as the second Test begins. Australian captain Michael Clarke has been in prolific form over the last 12 months, and will be a focus of the South African quicks if they are to win in Adelaide for the first time in almost 50 years.

In the first Test at the Gabba, the visitors were forced to bat out a draw after taking the early initiative with a big first innings total. Michael Clarke helped himself to his third double hundred of the year in response, effectively ending the match in a draw. Clarke is the leading run scorer in Test cricket for 2012 with 1 041 runs at an average of 115.66, a staggering achievement considering he still has ample opportunity to add to that tally before the year is up. The much fancied attack of South Africa will have to target him if they are to gain the upper hand in the series.

Former captain Ricky Ponting will also be under the spotlight as he bats to save his Test career, following a haul of low scores in recent times. Some might argue that at 37, perhaps his career should be over, however the fighting spirit displayed by Ponting over almost 20 years at the top, suggests he will remain a threat, and a big score could be on the cards. The former Australian captain has happy memories from Adelaide with 6 centuries including 2 double hundreds, and in total has scored 1433 runs at just shy of an average of 60.

The influential Shane Watson still remains in doubt, after not featuring in the series so far due to a calf strain. Watson has been in brilliant form at the top of the order, and is a more than useful medium quick bowler. His contribution to Australia’s cause in the first Test was definitely missed, however a decision wont be made on his availability until just before the Test.

For South Africa, Faf du Plessis comes in for the injured JP Duminy who was forced to return home due to a ruptured Achilles. The Adelaide pitch is expected to take some turn on the fourth and fifth days, which brings attacking leg spinner Imran Tahir into the equation, at the expense of Rory Kleinveldt. Much of the recent success for South Africa has come off the back of the attack, which has proved they have the pace and variety to bowl the opposition out twice, which effectively wins you a Test match. At the Gabba however there wasn’t much evidence to support this fact as they produced a very undisciplined performance, most notably bowling 23 no-balls, a statistic they will want to forget about. Steyn and Philander occupy the top two spots in the rankings, with Morkel at 9, between them they have plenty of experience and need to find their form if they want to gain the upper hand.