live cricket score, live score, live score cricket, Australia vs south Africa live, Australia vs South Africa live score, AUS vs South Africa live cricket score, australia vs south africa 1st test match live, australia vs south africa 1st test live, cricket live score, cricket score, cricket, live cricket streaming, live cricket video, live cricket, cricket live perth
Mark Taylor is right, almost half of this Australian side is not guaranteed of their places Getty Images

Change is the only constant , they say. In a rapidly expanding world where everyone and everything have their sweet little place, maybe old, maybe new, conventional or traditional, there are a few things which have existed for long, but they have a different face all together now. The game of cricket itself has undergone radical changes and development, but what has remained constant, is the hunger of those who play to succeed. Modern day cricketers certainly take fitness, for example, to levels which those from the last generation and beyond could not even imagine. For modern day cricketers, winning is just the cherry on the cake; they have become so methodological and meticulous that every step from the beginning becomes as important as the last one, and it all conjures up to an unruffled path to success. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

The best part of following cricket and the men who play it, is to observe their journeys with all the ebbs and flows which perhaps, no other discipline in the life may throw up. Young men from completely different backgrounds, contrasting societies and upbringings, come together under a certain banner, wear similar-looking colours and caps, and fight for a common cause. Sometime they win, sometime they fumble. But perhaps, most fascinating are their journeys to success. Their journey from being good to being the best; and that is what cricket is all about.

Interestingly, in order to become the best, the cricketers from Australia and South Africa have swapped roles. Infamous for their hard-nosed cricket which is often served with sledges peppered at the opposition, Australians, surprisingly, are happy being the softer side at least from the look of it. No more there are pre-series flare ups in the media, or any big promises being made. All that the Australians are doing is eat the humble pie, bit by bit.

After all, no Australian cricket team however depleted or incapable suffered three whitewashes inside 10 months in past few decades. Australia cannot play T20 cricket is a widely-known fact, but a 0-3 clean sweep in Tests handed out by the then seventh-ranked Sri Lanka was the lowest Smith s team could stoop. And as far as being world champions in 50-overs cricket is concerned, South Africa showed Australia their place by handing out 0-5 annihilation.

South Africa, on their part, have been lippy ever since it became evidently clear that they would hand out Australia their first-ever whitewash in a five-match ODI series. Faf du Plessis demanded recall of rested Australian fast bowlers, which was not only boisterous but in a way humiliating for the young quicks who were selected for the tour. Since their arrival, fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada have taken turns to throw verbal punches on Australia. South Africa feel this is certainly their best chance to create history and keep Australia pinned where they are, and the verbal assault is just a way of unsettling the hosts, their own way.

So what should this Australian team be proud about? As of now, there is nothing. Neither they are compelling the world to acknowledge them as one the best sides in the world, nor are they challenging those who are at the top. Australia cannot bat against the moving ball or on wickets when it turns. They have a spinner good enough to excel at home, and the fast bowling attack is increasingly looking frail with most of the young men being down with injuries all the time. It has been ages since the likes of James Pattinson and Pat Cummins were seen playing international cricket. Starc has been advised not to slide, Peter Siddle is returning from a back injury which kept him away since February. Josh Hazlewood is the only bowler who can be said 100 per cent fit, but then, lack of international cricket has its own impact at times.

Nevertheless, rankings should be least of Australia s concern, especially knowing that their opponents are at a far worse fifth spot. The South Africans can be described as a team which still is in a rebuilding phase, having not produced enough performances to ascertain that their tough phase is behind them. In their last three series, South Africa have been hammered twice; in India and by England at home.

Coming to Test cricket, of late it is all about teams dominating even the best of the opposition at home, but the story of Australia versus South Africa Down Under has been a lot different. The South Africans, coming off a terrific 5-0 hammering of the Australians in the ODI series held in their backyard have tasted blood, and with their near-impeccable record Down Under, they are fancying big. If South Africa win the upcoming three-Test series, it will be their third straight win over Australia in away series a feat that is just not possible to achieve for any other Test side.

But it is not going to be an easy road for South Africa, as Australia are known for taking the fight till the end. And at this time, when at least half of the team knows that their positions in the playing XI are in jeopardy, Australia may as well go back to being their dominating best while playing at home. Their batting looks alright, and with Smith declaring the playing XI on the eve of the first Test, there is a certain sense of assuredness in the Australian camp regarding what is to come next.

David Warner, Smith and Shaun Marsh have already warmed up for the home summer with centuries in the Sheffield Shield. Usman Khawaja knows he will have to start delivering or else he may go the Joe Burns way. Australia desperately need runs, and there are very little doubts that the likes of Shaun Marsh, his brother Mitchell, Khawaja, Voges and even Peter Nevill will have to start contributing heavily to keep their places intact.

(Devarchit Varma is a senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)