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Dale Steyn has been South Africa’s strike bowler Getty Images

Australia will cross swords with South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series at Perth commencing on Thursday. South Africa did well in the One-Day International (ODI) series and will be eyeing to replicate their magical performance in whites as well. Both the sides are well balanced and the contest between the two will be enthralling. Australia have a slight advantage of the home conditions while South Africa have decent numbers Down Under since 2008. South Africa have won three, lost one and drew two games out of six tests played at this venue. The game will undoubtedly witness few key battles, which will be interesting to watch out for. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

David Warner vs Dale Steyn: The battle between the two prominent names is one of the most looked for a contest in the series. David Warner, Dale Steyn share an old bond and the rivalry on the field between the two is well-known in the fraternity. Steyn gets the ball to move into the right-handers and can test Warner s Achilles Heels with the new ball, where he will get some movement. Warner likes to fancy his chances against the new ball and clear the infield with his maverick style of play. The winner of this battle will certainly steer their respective side to a commanding position. Warner has been in great form off late while Steyn has show signs of his resurgence.

Shaun Marsh vs Vernon Philander: Marsh scored a brilliant century in Sri Lanka and has been in good touch in the recent times. But the elegant southpaw looks bereft of oomph when the ball starts moving. He will be opening the batting along with Warner and will have to overcome this weakness to score big runs. Vernon Philander, on the other hand, has the ability to get the ball away from the left-hander and will certainly pose a challenge to Marsh. South Africa s deliberate show of bravado intensifies tour of Australia

Steve Smith vs Kagiso Rabada: Australian skipper Steve Smith is the backbone of their batting order and his success with the bat will boost his team s morale. Smith s evolution as a batsman has been irresistible and is one of the best in the business. He has a knack of playing those long innings and will look to better his numbers in this game. Kagiso Rabada has shown enough mettle and looks promising; Smith s wicket would be the ideal for him to get started.

Hashim Amla vs Mitchell Starc: Hashim Amla is one of the best Test batsmen in contemporary cricket and has done a remarkable job for his side over the years. He has sound technique and plays the ball to its merit. He is one cricketer who can anchor the innings and keep the scoreboard ticking with his elegance. The return of Mitchell Starc to the Australia side has been a booster as he is their strike bowler and has done an admirable job in the recent times. He bowls at a menacing pace and has got the ball to move. Starc was unstoppable in the series against Sri Lanka and would be the man to watch out for against South Africa at home. He has the ability to turn the game single-handedly and has done it in the past as well. Steyn, Rabada and other Proteas players to watch out for

Faf du Plessis vs Josh Hazlewood: In the absence of AB de Villiers, the onus of leading the side will be on Faf du Plessis. He has been the silent assassin of the side and has scored runs on a consistent basis. Du Plessis will bat in the middle-order and look to anchor the innings, while Hazlewood would look to put brakes on the South Africa skipper s run. Du Plessis early kill is always a boon for the opposition as he has the ability to shift gears once he gets his eyes in and makes the most of the start. Hazlewood has meant business and looks promising with the ball in hand.

Quinton de Kock vs Nathan Lyon: Quinton de Kock was in magnificent form in the ODI series and will be looking forward so prolific run in the whites as well. He looked good in the recent Test series against New Zealand. Nathan Lyon, on the other hand, is Australia s most successful off-spinner; he will get the ball to move away from the southpaw further making it difficult for him to score runs. De Kock s batting position will be interesting to watch out for. Lyon is a wily bowler, he has good control over his line and length and also the only spinner in the Australian dugout.

(Suraj Choudhari is a reporter with Criclife and CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)