Graeme Smith has twice led South Africa to triumphs in Australia but a home series win has eluded him and his predecessors © Getty Images
Cape Town: Mar 1, 2014
South Africa start as the favourite in the third and final Test at Cape Town against Australia on Saturday.
If South Africa beat Australia at Newlands, it will be the first time they would have beaten the visitors, since returning to international cricket in 1991.
Even though Graeme Smith has won two series against Australia, he has never led the team to win a home series against Australia.
The hosts have an opportunity to clinch the series at a ground which has been a fortress for South Africa, who have won 18 of 26 post-isolation Tests at Newlands, with only three defeats – all against Australia.
But South Africa have been unbeaten at Newlands since 2005-06 and have twice beaten Australia in a sequence of eight wins and two draws since then.
South Africa are expected to make two significant changes to their team. Opening batsman Alviro Petersen, who withdrew from the second Test because of illness, is set to return despite his replacement Dean Elgar playing a crucial innings of 83 in Port Elizabeth. Elgar is likely to drop down the order to number six or seven.
With left-arm fast-medium bowler Wayne Parnell ruled out with a groin injury, South Africa have to decide whether to pick all-rounder Ryan McLaren, who suffered concussion when struck by a bouncer from Johnson in Centurion, or a specialist bowler.
One player who seems certain to miss out is Robin Peterson, the only specialist spinner in the squad, after coach Russell Domingo said he was happy with the role played by part-time spinners JP Duminy and Elgar.
That leaves seamers Rory Kleinveldt and Kyle Abbott vying with fellow right-armer McLaren for the final place in the eleven.
Australian coach Darren Lehmann gave his squad three days off after the second Test loss, although captain Michael Clarke was seen working in the nets in an effort to regain his batting form.
Subject to fitness, all-rounder Shane Watson is set for a recall in place of either Alex Doolan or Shaun Marsh after missing the first two Tests because of a calf injury.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (wk), Dean Elgar, Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.
Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Alex Doolan, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.
Catch Live Score and ball by ball commentary of the third Test between South Africa and Australia here