Durban’s Kingsmead has been awfully kind to the Australian cricket team in the past.
And when they face South Africa there today (1.30pm), Steve Smith and his teammates will have every right to believe they can still save the series.
Of the seven matches played between the two teams at the ground, the Aussies have won five – the last of which was back in 2011.
Entering the third of the five-match ODI series, South Africa have a 2-0 lead and can clinch the series if they do manage to get the better of the Aussies in Durban.
In order for them to do that, Russell Domingo’s team will have to be hotter than a Durban curry.
They do need the one ingredient that has been missing from the team so far in the series.
And that comes in the form of Proteas talisman Hashim Amla.
After being left out of the team that played at the Wanderers, it will be wise of Domingo to bring back Amla for this encounter.
Question is: who to leave out?
Kingsmead generally is not a high-scoring ground, with neither of the two teams having gone past the 300-mark in one of those seven matches.
Patience is needed at this ground, and Amla — who averages 45 and has scored a century and three
fifties on this wicket — embodies just that.
One option for Domingo would be to drop Rilee Rossouw down the order and “rest” one of the bowlers to allow Amla to open the innings with the in-form Quinton de Kock.
The Proteas can’t afford to have a long tail at Kingsmead and will need the likes of JP Duminy, David Miller and Farhaan Behardien to score some “extra” runs down the order.
It would be cruel to drop him at his home ground, but youngster Andile Phelukwayo seems to be the most logical player to miss out in order for Amla to come in and to shorten the tail.
Transformation targets make this move difficult, though,
leaving Domingo with a
selection headache ahead of today’s crunch match.