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Rain set to save reeling Aussies in Hobart after 1st test debacle

Australia WACA loss
NEWS that it is going to absolutely belt down in Hobart on day one would be absolute music to the Australian cricket team’s ears.

After a dominant opening day to the first Test match of the summer, the Australians were made to look like amateur cricketers as the South Africans rifled through them, then belted the living daylights out of their attack, before storming home to win the WACA Test – the first time the Aussies have lost the opening Test of the summer in 28 years.

It’s embarrassing and many say un-Australian.

People are calling for heads to roll. From chairman of selectors Rod Marsh to coach Darren Lehmann, to under performing middle order man Adam Voges, keeper Peter Nevill and all rounder Mitchell Marsh.

People are not happy, they want change, and they want it now.

So where does that leave the Aussies for the second Test, which begins at Bellerive Oval on Saturday?

Due to the weather forecast, the draw is the odds on favourite at $1.67 with Sportsbet.com.au.

That means, if you are an optimist, you can get some really juicy odds on either side winning the Test match.

The Aussies, despite their mighty capitulation in Perth, are still more favoured – at the big odds of $3.95 – to win the Test, with the South Africans the $4.35 outsiders in the race.

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It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Proteas – missing arguably their best bat in AB de Villiers, still thrashed the Aussies and, even though their veteran gun seamer Dale Steyn has been ruled out for the foreseeable future with a serious shoulder injury, they don’t deserve to be the outsiders.

They batted better and they bowled better than the Aussies – and that’s a trend that dates back for Australia to series with Pakistan and with Sri Lanka.

It is on home soil, but how much difference did it make in Perth?

After saying “the 12 is the 12” during the first Test, the Australians must make at least two changes, with opening bat Shaun Marsh set to miss with a busted finger and heart and soul veteran seamer Peter Siddle also in trouble after succumbing to a back injury.

You can’t blame him though, the Aussie bats’ ineptitude meant that Siddle was in the field for four days and that is tough for any bowler, let alone an old bloke with a wonky back that had not bowled a whole lot in the lead up to the match.

Siddle’s career now looks in jeopardy, with the Aussie quick stocks looking to be bolstered by Joe Mennie, with teammates Chadd Sayers or Daniel Worrall beating down the door.

They will probably be the only two changes, given the selectors’ reluctance to dump even our worst performers, but don’t discount the pressure they are under to now find a winning formula after the Perth capitulation.

Joe Burns should slide into the opening slot with Marsh out and, with Voges apparently battling both a hamstring injury and poor form with the bat, South Australian captain Callum Ferguson looks set to pinch his spot in the middle order after some fine form in the Sheffield Shield.

It would be ironic if Ferguson was to debut in place of Voges, as he would become the oldest Test debutante, at 31, since the man he would replace.

And hey, even spinner Nathan Lyon is under the pump, with Victorian Jon Holland weaving a web in the opening two games – coming off an eight for against Tasmania. Lyon is from New South Wales, so he is probably safe… for now.

David Warner and Usman Khawaja were the only bats who could hold their heads high for Australia – although Nevill did produce a fighting 60 in the Aussies’ fruitless second dig – and Warner is the favourite with Sportsbet to produce the most runs in the first innings.

He is $3.50 after this first innings 97 in Perth, with out of form captain Steve Smith at $4.33 and Khawaja at $5, after he emulated Warner in the second dig.

There is great value about Proteas’ destroyers JP Duminy ($7) and Dean Elgar ($5.50) to head the South African batting again, after the pair put on 250 in Perth. Dummy clubbed 141 and Elgar 127, but Hashim Amla is the favourite to score the most runs for South Africa at $4.33.

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With the rock, Mitchell Starc is the obvious pick as favourite for the most wickets for Australia at $2.80 after claiming 4/71 in the first dig, but fellow opening bowler Josh Hazlewood is also worth a look at $3.75 after he claimed three scalps of his own.

The South Africans will have to make do without Steyn, but something tells us they won’t have that much trouble with the emergence of Kagiso Rabada.

He is the $3.50 favourite after tearing the life out of the Australians’ second innings with 5/92, ahead of fellow opener Vernon Philander at $3.75.

Top run-scorer markets

Australia:

David Warner ($3.50)

Steve Smith ($4.33)

Usman Khawaja ($5)

Joe Burns ($5.50)

Callum Ferguson ($7)

Adam Voges ($7)

Mitchell Marsh ($11)

Peter Nevill ($21)

Mitchell Starc ($67)

Joe Mennie ($101)

Josh Hazlewood ($101)

Nathan Lyon ($151)

South Africa:

Hashim Amla ($4.33)

Faf du Plessis ($5.50)

Dean Elgar ($5.50)

Quinton de Kock ($6.50)

Stephen Cook ($7)

JP Duminy ($7)

Temba Bavuma ($8)

Rilee Rossouw ($8)

Dane Vilas ($13)

Vernon Philander ($51)

Keshav Maharaj ($67)

Kyle Abbott ($101)

Kagiso Rabada ($101)

Morne Morkel ($276)

Tabraiz Shamsi ($276)

Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au

Top wicket taker markets

Australia:

Mitchell Starc ($2.80)

Josh Hazlewood ($3.75)

Joe Mennie ($5)

Nathan Lyon ($5)

Mitchell Marsh ($6.50)

South Africa:

Kagiso Rabada ($3.50)

Vernon Philander ($3.75)

Morne Morkel ($4)

Keshav Maharaj ($5)

Tabraiz Shamsi ($5)

Kyle Abbott ($5.50)

JP Duminy ($13)

Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au

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