Roebuck predicts compelling series in South Africa

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Sydney, Feb.16 (ANI): Having beaten Australia in Australia, the South Africans would naturally be cocksure about using their home advantage to challenge Ricky Ponting's team and dislodge it from its championship pedestal, feels cricket columnist Peter Roebuck.

In a column for the Sydney Morning Herald, Roebuck predicts a compelling series in South Africa.

While stating that the Australians ought to enjoy themselves in South Africa, Roebuck said that they could take a leaf out of Graeme Smith and company's book on exhibiting joviality.

"The Proteas were almost jovial as they toured the country (Australia), and it showed in their cricket. Refusing to dwell on distractions such as laser beams and oafs and collapses, the Proteas were popular and successful. Ricky Ponting and chums must likewise forget about frowns and play positive cricket. Already the selectors have played their part by turning towards youth," Roebuck said.

"The Australians will arrive in Africa without the baggage they have been carrying all season. Youngsters tend not to worry about margin loans, breaking bodies or upset partners. Whereas seasoned campaigners can be thrown off course by outside forces, youngsters can retain simplicity. Part of the trick in sport is to stay young as long as possible while absorbing the lessons time alone can bring," he adds.

He admits that the Aussies will miss the tried and tested services of the injured old guard - Stuart Clark and Brett Lee, but should not think too much on this score, and show faith in youngsters like Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger and Ben Hillfenhaus.

"Despite all the misgivings, the Australians will be hard to beat in a series likely to be played on grassy and seaming surfaces. Pace remains the side's strong point, with Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and the swingers capable of forming an honest combination. Assuming Michael Clarke is fully fit, the batting has a solid ring to it, too," says Roebuck.

Though it is a pity that Callum Ferguson has not been taken as the extra batsman, Roebuck says that all-rounders Marcus North and Andrew McDonald have much to offer the side that has had a none to happy summer back at home. (ANI)

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