Well it's seems an eternity since we dusted off a second-string Kiwi outfit. You would have thought that Cricket Australia would have thrown in a couple of one dayers or some T20 with the sheep-shaggers after the Tests instead of having a ridiculously long layoff in the middle of the cricket season, but what would I know?
This shapes as an intriguing series that could go either way, though South Africa seem to forget how to play when they tour here. However, opening batsmen Neil McKenzie believes that they can get the job done this time. "It will be a tight series, no question. But if we can keep all the toilet seats down in the dressing room and tape bats to the ceiling, as well as actually playing well, I think we can beat Australia. We think they are vulnerable at the moment, and as long as we stay off the white lines and cracks out in the middle, then we have the ability to win this series," said a tired looking McKenzie, who had the look of a man who had been up all night trying to get into bed without creasing the sheets.
Aussie captain Ricky Ponting, who has shrugged off the loss of Stuart Clark, says the South Africans shouldn't be getting too cocky. "They are a bunch of chokers. That's why they'll never be as good as us. That, and the fact that I'm a far superior captain and all round cranky pants to Graeme Smith, who is a choker and a lame sledger, " he said. "On Stuart Clark, I've said it before, he is only our fourth best pace bowler so we won't miss him at all".
There's been a lot of talk about the strength of South Africa's bowling attack, but now it's d-day. They need to perform from the get-go or else they'll initiate self-destruct mode in a batting lineup put under pressure.
Great to see Krejza in for another Test, on a track which probably won't be kind to him. It's the matches like these where we're going to find out if he's the real deal. He showed enormous potential in India, proving this dud scribe wrong again. I think Siddle will be hard to handle at the WACA, but long term, there are concerns that he doesn't move the ball in the air enough. When all's said and done, a Test match without Stuart Clark's magnificent line and length bowling and wildly entertaining batting at 11 just isn't quite the same for us cricketing purists.
My Birthday perfectly coincides with the opening day of this match. A day off work, a couple of coldies, and a comfortable place on the couch in front of the telly will do me just fine.