Australia need to win this Test to keep the series alive    Getty Images
Australia need to win this Test to keep the series alive Getty Images

After a disheartening defeat in the first Test at Perth, the onus of making a comeback in the three-match Test series is on Australia. They have now lost four consecutive Tests and will be seeking revival of fortunes in the high-voltage encounter at Hobart. South Africa returned from the dead in the Perth Test and registered an emphatic win only to take a 1-0 lead in the series. One should not forget, they were without the services of AB de Villiers and their strike bowler Dale Steyn, who had pulled out while putting in the hard yards in the first innings. Australia have the home advantage and will look to rectify their mistakes from the first Test and square the series and remain alive in the series. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Hobart

Australia s batting collapsed like nine pins in the first Test and will have to pull up on this front if they are eyeing a comeback. South Africa won the Perth Test by a massive margin of 177 runs after being bundled out for 242 in the first innings. Australia lost all their 10 wickets inside 100 runs in the first innings, which allowed the visitors to make a comeback. They were once placed at 158 for no loss but were eventually bowled out for 244 in the first innings. Skipper Steve Smith also expressed his grief on the Australian batting collapse. South Africa will be playing their first ever Test at Hobart and the fact that they are without the services of De Villiers and Steyn, which is also the first time since their debut, will certainly please Australia. Australia played well in the first Test but in patches. They failed to step up collectively, a factor which hurt them massively. To add to their woes, in form opener, Shaun Marsh and Peter Siddle have also been ruled out of the Hobart Test citing injury issues.

This Test holds a massive importance for the hosts as a win at Hobart will not only end their losing streak in whites but also level the three-match Test series. Rain is also expected to play the spoilsport, which means Australia will have to bring out their A game here at Hobart. Smith has also hinted at the six-batsmen strategy with rain clouds looming over Hobart. With the decisive encounter around the corner, let s take a look at the probable XI for the hosts. Australia vs South Africa 2nd Test Preview & Prediction

Top-order: With Shaun Marsh missing out the Hobart Test due to injury, Joe Burns is expected to make way at the top and accompany David Warner. David Warner was in red hot form in the Perth Test and will look to continue his dream run when his team needs him the most. Warner played a brisk innings of 97 runs in the first innings and looked good on 35 in the second when Temba Bavuma ended his innings with a thrilling run out. Warner will continue to bat at the top while Burns will look to make the most of his opportunity and get some runs to his name. He has the ingredients to excel at the top and has done well in his sporadic appearances for the side. In 12 Tests so far, Burns averages 41.52 and has three tons to his name.

Usman Khawaja will bat at three as he looked in good touch in the previous Test. He missed out on a ton in the second innings as JP Duminy got the better of him on 97. The top-three will have a crucial role to play as they have a knack of scoring runs at a brisk pace, which could well steer the hosts in a commanding position at the start.

Middle-order: Smith has been under the fire after Australia’s dismal performance in the recent times. His captaincy has been criticised by many the will be under extreme pressure when he takes guard at Hobart. He will bat at four and his success with the bat will be extremely crucial as it will also bolster his confidence as the skipper. He is well capable of playing those long innings and Hobart will certainly be the ideal platform for him to better his numbers. Adam Voges has been declared fit for the second Test after he pulled a hamstring at Perth and will bat in the middle-order. His willow has been silent for a while and needs to step up with the bat.

Mitchell Marsh and Callum Ferguson will be fighting for the sixth position as the latter has been included in the squad but it is unlikely that he would get a nod right away. Marsh will be under the pump to perform and has to make the most of this opportunity. Peter Nevill will continue to provide his services behind the stumps as he showed great resistance in the first Test with the bat. He remained unbeaten on 60 in the second innings and his team will need him to replicate his performance at Hobart as well. Australia vs South Africa, 2nd Test: Rain could play spoilsport; Steven Smith might opt for 4-bowlers

Bowling: Joe Mennie is expected to make his Test debut after Peter Siddle was ruled out of the second Test and will join the pace battery, which hails of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Mennie was in splendid form in the Sheffield Shield last summer and will look to reproduce some performances like those in his maiden Test as well. Starc bowled well in the first innings where he had four scalps to his name but failed to trouble the South African batsmen in the second with just a solitary wicket to his name.

Hazlewood looked in good rhythm and will continue to hunt along with Starc at Hobart. On the whole, the pace attack wears a dominant look and will hold the key for Australia at Hobart. The only spinner of the side will be Nathan Lyon who did not have a fruitful run at Perth and will be hoping for better numbers in the second encounter.

Probable playing XI for Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Marsh, Joe Mennie, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.

(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.)