Australia arrive in Port Elizabeth with a skip in their step
Australian wicketkeeper Tim Paine is expecting similar conditions to those experienced in Durban when the tourists square up with South Africa in the second Test starting at St George’s Park‚ in Port Elizabeth‚ on Friday.
The Aussies arrived in the Bay with a skip in their step having gone 1-0 up in the four-match series win - a 118-run win at Kingsmead‚ in Durban‚ on Sunday.
There were two major differences between the sides in opening exchanges of the series - Australia’s ability to extract more runs from their lower order and Mitchell Starc’s devastating reverse swing.
The strapping left-arm fast bowler ran through South Africa’s tail on his way to taking nine wickets for 109 runs in the match.
Paine expects the ball to reverse again this time around and whether South Africans will have come up with a plan to counter Starc remains to be seen.
“It’s been quite slow [in the past].
"It’s been favourable conditions I suppose for reverse swing so we expect probably something similar to what we got last week.
"But if not we have to adapt quickly and whatever conditions we get it’s about starting well‚” said Paine.
“We got a little bit of momentum from the last Test so start well in the first hour in a couple of days’ time and go from there.”
Paine says the Australian top order batsman will be aiming to make a more meaningful contribution than they did in the first Test.
“We think we can improve in all aspects. We spoke about periods of the game where we batted and bowled really well in and then there were a few minor things we thought we could get better at.
“To have no-one in our top six getting a hundred was disappointing. It’s something that our batters pride themselves on.
As a bowling group there were periods when we weren’t at our best. So it’s just about tidying up little things.
“We’ve now had a look at a few of their batters who we perhaps had not seen a lot of. So we can look at some plans we think might work.”
Asked whether he thought controversial vice-captain David Warner would be pumped up even more than ever to perform in the wake of the controversy with South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock‚ Paine said he did not expect anything different.
“I don’t think so. I think every time he plays for Australia Davey is pretty fired up and ready to go.
"He’s obviously a professional and been a terrific international cricketer for a long period of time. You don’t be like that if you not at your best mentally all the time.
“I don’t think Davey will be trying harder than he does every other time. He’s got a job to do and he knows what that is and we expect him to do it well.”