AUSTIN, Texas – It’s hard to imagine a scenario more fitting for the Australian team than their opening match against the South African side of the same name.
The first match was held in Brisbane, and the second was played in Perth, which will see the sides meet again at the MCG on Wednesday.
There’s also the fact the teams are in a tight, five-team group at the moment, with Australia only two points clear of their opponents in second spot in the table.
A lot of the focus for the opening match of the Australian tour is on the captain, Aaron Finch, who’s the key player on the team and will be looking to extend his run in the Ashes to four Tests.
He’s a great all-rounder, and he’s one of the few players who can play the role of a bowler in this side, particularly if he’s in the side for the second Test against the Wallabies.
But as you might expect, the opening Test will be an interesting one.
It’ll be played at the end of a difficult week, with a number of Test matches and ODIs looming in the next week or so.
Finch and the rest of the team will be aiming to get to the top of the table, and get the Wallaby squad out of the mud in a hurry.
Fitzpatrick has been given a fair amount of credit for Australia’s improvement in recent years, with the Wallace having made their first-ever Test appearance at Twenty20 level in 2013.
Fitz has been a big part of that improvement.
He’s made 37 consecutive starts at No. 9, including all seven innings of the 2014 Ashes.
Fernandez has made a similar leap from the first Test of last year to the second, having started all six matches of this year’s series, but he’s struggled in the last couple of matches.
Despite a number out of form performances, he’s been the most consistent of the three in the first innings, and will likely start the second as well.
The Wallabies have started well in the Test series, winning three of their last four games.
They’re also unbeaten in their last five Tests.
Fellow opener, James Pattinson, is in the midst of his best Ashes series, having scored his first Test century against New Zealand in Sydney in December, and has taken his place as one of Australia’s most prolific bowlers.
The rest of Australia will be in for a tough week, but there’s a chance of them staying at the top as well, with all the games being played in Adelaide.
The Aussies are also facing the biggest test match of their lives against the reigning champions of Test cricket, the West Indies, who are in their fifth Test match.
Australia have only had two successful Test matches against the West Indians, in 2009 and 2010, and haven’t won a series since, having been beaten by the visitors in the 2011 Ashes.
Australia’s opening match is on Tuesday, October 13 at the Adelaide Oval, and is scheduled to kick off at 6:30pm AEDT (13:30 GMT).