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Australia vs South Africa

Match info: Australia v South Africa Test Series 2012 at WACA Ground - 3rd Test

Date: 3rd Dec 2012 Status: Day 4 of 5 Umpires: A Rauf and R A Kettleborough

Home team and score Away team score

Australia

163 All out (53.1 Overs)
322 All out (82.5 Overs)

Result

South Africa

225 All out (74.0 Overs)
569 All out (111.5 Overs)

South Africa win by 309 runs

  • Last Updated: November 28 2012, 11:53 GMT

We run the rule over the WACA in Perth, host for the Test series decider between Australia and South Africa

Established: 1893
Capacity: 24,500
Floodlights: Yes
Ends: Members End, Prindiville Stand End
Home Team: Western Australia
Head Groundsman: Cameron Sutherland
Test History: 39 Tests; 23 home wins; 9 away wins; 7 draws
Last 10 Tests: 7 home wins, 2 away wins, 1 draw
Last 10 Tosses: 6 batted first (3 wins, 1 draws, 2 defeats); 4 fielded first (1 win, 3 defeats)

Overview
Built on old swamp land and home to many sports, including AFL, rugby union, rugby league and soccer, the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground was first put to use in 1890.

Hosting its first Test in 1970, the WACA promptly became synonymous for its quick pitch, where some of Australia's greatest fast bowlers of the modern era - Glenn McGrath, Merv Hughes, Craig McDermott, Brett Lee - have enjoyed fine records.

2002 saw the ground redeveloped and its capacity reduced to make it more economically viable amid lack of investment. Fresh features to come with the makeover included a new small grandstand, players' pavilion, smaller playing area and replacements of some seats with grass embankments.

Weather-wise, Perth is renowned for it's scorching conditions, tempered only by the Fremantle Doctor - a breeze which sweeps in along the Swan River.

Last Time Out
January this year saw both sides opted for all-pace attacks across conditions that promised plenty of grass, bounce and carry - and duly delivered.

India crashed to defeat inside three days, copping a third consecutive defeat in a series they eventually lost four-nil. There was nothing iffy about the one-sided conditions, with Australia's decision to bowl first a foregone conclusion.

The tourists managed just 161 and 171 to Australia's 369, built on the back of David Warner's big century. Key to Warner's success was the fast, true nature of the deck. India's attack, empty and admittedly depleted by injury, held little hope in an innings and 37-run defeat.

Happy Hunting Ground
Australia's current attack have nothing much to tout in terms of Test success at the WACA. However, Ryan Harris, if picked, will be eager to build on his second-innings six-for last time out.

Ricky Ponting's ground tally of 953 runs from 24 innings at the average of 41.43 is as good as it gets for Australia's current crop, though this is some 11 runs less than his career aggregate. Michael Hussey is next in line with 602 in 13 at 50.16. David Warner, meanwhile, will draw plenty of inspiration from the quickfire 180 he scored against India earlier this year.

It's little wonder Mitchell Johnson has been recalled. Despite his shortcomings at Test level of late, his WACA record remains unrivalled by Australia's current crop. 30 scalps in four matches at 18.13 has served the left-armer very well at his home ground.

South Africa's last visit to the WACA brought that incredible chase, when second-innings centuries from Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers saw the tourists surpass a hefty 400-plus target to take the series lead.

They Said
"It's always been a dream of mine to play here, because what I've heard from past players is that the pitch is a quick one. It would be nice for me get on there and have a go. It will also be nice to win the toss and bat first." - South African fast bowler Rory Kleinveldt.

"We were the first ones in Australia to trial this new grass. It has worked wonders for us. It's a high fibre content in the leaves, so it just holds its colour for longer. It's also very fine leaf, it's almost like a carpet, so it doesn't seam too much. I know we've been referred to having green seamers or green-top wickets, but they haven't seamed around much at all. You'll definitely get the bounce and you might get a bit of turn. There's enough grass there to get a bit of purchase." - curator Cameron Sutherland.

"I prefer the pace. I think I've had my most success in Australia on wickets like here in Perth. I like the ball coming on. For smaller guys like myself, it means you don't have to try and hit the ball too hard, you can use the pace to your advantage. And they're probably the best conditions to face spin on, because the ball bounces a lot more and you can hit through the line." - Australia captain Michael Clarke.

Weather Forecast
A 20 percent chance of rain is predicted for Thursday, but should clear out when requred: Friday through Tuesday. Cool intially, temperatures will increase for the weekend, which will facilitate swelling crowds too. The Freemantle Docto, of course, will add its trademark temperance.

Conclusion
The WACA wicket is a veritable seamers' paradise, as dictated by conditions for Australia's series opener against India in January and state cricket results since.

All-pace attacks were picked then, and are an arguable demand this time around. Coach Mickey Arthur, though, isn't inclined to leave a spinner out of the XI, so Nathan Lyon's spot looks safe.

Should the hosts go with just the three seamers, then who to partner Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus lies in a head-to-head battle between Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson. One has to fancy the latter despite the former's current form - Johnson's WACA record is too good to ignore.

South Africa, at their home away from home (the Perth community sports plenty of expatriates), seem the most likely of the two sides to avoid a spinner. Imran Tahir was near useless in Brisbane, and the call-up of Ryan McLaren suggests change.

Bowling first doesn't seem the way forward, though. Three of the last four captains to do so have ended up on the losing side.

History, too, will impact the present: Australia have lost only one of their last 15 Tests here, while South Africa' last visit brought a momentous triumph in 2008. The last draw here, was in 2005, incidentally between this week's opposition.


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