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It's advantage South Africa in Perth


"South Africa don't know how to give up. Why do they fight so hard?!" was a question a somewhat exasperated Ian Healy asked on air of no-one in particular late on day five of the second test in Adelaide.

It is simple Heals. That is what they do and although their escape in Adelaide was miraculous, their belief was unwavering. Furthermore they will now be energised following the excellence of Faf so more fortitude can be expected in the west.

Ian Healy has seen it all before during his illustrious playing career and had encountered similar resistance, but he ultimately knew a couple of superior weapons named Warne and McGrath would often prevail before his very eyes as that introduction of double jeopardy spelt capitulation. Times are different now.

Australia are minus that artillery of yesteryear and are up against a unit that is as tough as teak. The South Africans bristle with stubbornness. Smith does not publicly ooze positivity like Clarke but lurking beneath the surface are layers of confidence and determination that serve his changeroom and country well.

The fighting spirit on display in Adelaide will have done wonders for the South African environment, while in stark contrast Australia fight disappointment and exhaustion. South Africa, who will plan with rediscovered belief on the quickest track around, will look to fire up in Perth and bank the series.

Make no mistake, the home team expected victory in Adelaide and will be fighting nagging flashes of doubt. They will also be hurting in more ways than one and won't know their full fitness count until the eleventh hour.

A mindset change has swept through both camps as the expectations of the series decider heighten. Australia have had the upper hand until now but have no points with which to brag. South Africa have shown good old-fashioned grunt and that now will have significantly steeled the team.

New faces of pace will be entrusted to deliver the goods for the hosts at the Waca while the visitors will rely on personnel tried and tested and importantly, relatively fresh. One hundred fewer overs from South Africa's gas men in Adelaide translates to a mammoth fitness advantage.

Morkel has been magnificent so far but now it is time for Steyn to snarl and Philander to fire as they both raise their games to the expected levels.


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