The South Africans have landed in Australia at last. They are full of confidence and ready to go. This series has the potential to be one of the best seen in long time and I have my fingers crossed that the quality of cricket will be better than that seen in the just gone Aus vs India series which was brilliant in patches but also dire in others.
The South African line-up is very similar to the Aussie one - settled opening pair, strong middle order, battery of good quicks and a dodgy spinner. The fact that the groundsman at the WACA has prepared an older pitch without any of the restored pace and bounce suggests the Aussies are slightly nervous. Graeme Smith is much more sensible this time around and a well-led South African team should be able to win a test if not the series.
Ponting is still under pressure following the series in India and the Aussies are involved in various distractions such as the dispute with Cricket Australia over how much time they spend on sponsors activities. South Africa have grabbed the early edge in terms of media coverage. Their players appear to be more willing to talk to journalists and tend to be honest and interesting.
Both teams have had a similar build-up - thrashing miserably poor touring teams (NZ and Bangladesh respectively) doesn't provide much of an insight into how the players will cope in a close contest. South Africa have the confidence of winning 8 out of their last 9 series while Australia appear to be coming to terms with losing in India. The series is too close to call but having seen South Africa demolish England this summer, I think they might take this series as well providing that Graeme Smith and Dale Steyn live up to the hype.