South Africa take on Australia in a Test series decider starting at Newlands on Saturday.
After being thrashed in the opener, the Proteas came back strongly to win the second comfortably. Graeme Smith's men have all the momentum heading into this weekend's rubber match.
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Date: 1 March 2014
Start time: 8:30 a.m. GMT (10:30 a.m. local time)
Weather: The opening morning is set to be overcast with the possibility of some drizzle according to Accuweather. Showers are forecast for Day 2 but it should be dry, bright and sunny for the remainder.
After being blown away by Mitchell Johnson in the first Test at Centurion, South Africa roared back to life in Port Elizabeth.
Looking once again like the world's No. 1 Test side, the Proteas impressed with both bat and ball. Centurions AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Hashim Amla showed that it was possible to not only survive but thrive against the Aussie pace attack.
With the ball reverse swinging at St George's Park, Dale Steyn was back to his devastating best too. Despite the South Africans missing Wayne Parnell for much of the match, the Australians couldn't cope with a seam attack that generated plenty of movement.
The home side are set to make a couple of changes to the line-up that won so convincingly in Port Elizabeth.
Kyle Abbott is the likely replacement for injured paceman Parnell. The right-arm quick is in great touch in the domestic game, taking 12 wickets in his last First Class appearance for the Dolphins.
After missing the last Test through illness, opening batsman Alviro Petersen is also set to return.
The final Test will be a real examination of the recent Australian renaissance. Was the second innings collapse at Port Elizabeth an aberration or a return of old batting frailties?
The good forms of David Warner and Steve Smith have helped mask the recent failings of Michael Clarke. The skipper hasn't reached 25 in his past 11 Test innings and really needs a score.
With 15 wickets in the series at an average of just 16.53, Mitchell Johnson has once again been the pick of the Aussie attack. Ryan Harris has looked off the pace though, with just three wickets at an average of 74.33 to show for his efforts.
Both will welcome the return of the safety blanket that is Shane Watson.
Extra spice has been added to the final contest courtesy of some inopportune comments made by David Warner in a radio interview. The Australian opener was fined 15 percent of his match fee after implying that South Africa tampered with the ball during the Port Elizabeth Test.
The momentum seems to be with the hosts, especially as the final match of the series will take place in Cape Town. Newlands has been an extremely happy hunting ground for Graeme Smith's men. South Africa are unbeaten in Tests there going back to 2006.
A fifth consecutive Test victory at Newlands would give South Africa their first home series win over the Aussies since returning to the international fold in 1991.
South Africa: Though Dale Steyn is the undoubted leader of the South African attack it's worth noting the performances of Vernon Philander at Newlands. The seamer has taken 30 wickets in his four Test appearances in Cape Town. With an overcast morning expected on the opening day it could be perfectly set up for Philander.
Blunting Mitchell Johnson will again be the key to South African success with the bat. With 284 runs at an average of 71, AB de Villiers has looked the man most adept in that role. Another big score from the gloveman will give Steyn, Philander and Morne Morkel plenty to work with.
Australia: Having taken almost as many wickets as the rest of the Australian attack combined (15 compared to 18), Mitchell Johnson is the key man. If on song, he's capable of winning the match on his own.
With the exception of Clarke, all the Aussie top order have scored a half-century this series. David Warner has been the most consistent batsman, passing 50 on three occasions. Another big score from the left-handed opener would go a long way to securing a surprise Aussie win.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (w/k), JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Ryan McLaren, Rory Kleinveldt, Kyle Abbott, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.
Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin (w/k), Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Ryan Harris, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson, James Faulkner.
Squad and stats via ESPN Cricinfo.
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