Nathan Lyon expects Mitchell Starc to generate potent reverse swing in Australia’s third Test against South Africa, albeit not as early as the opening two games in the series.
The four-Test series is level at 1-1 ahead of the match that starts in Cape Town on Thursday.
Both teams found the old ball more effective than the new ball in Durban and Port Elizabeth, a product of dry pitches and abrasive centre-wicket blocks.
Starc delivered Australia a 118-run win in the series opener, producing unplayable reverse-swinging deliveries while claiming a match haul of 9-109 at Kingsmead.
Kagiso Rabada then put on a reverse-swing clinic at St George’s Park, snaring 11-150 including five first-innings wickets in the space of 18 deliveries.
However, a well-grassed pitch and lush centre-wicket block at Newlands suggests that Starc and Rabada will both find reverse-swing harder to attain later this week.
“Starcy is a massive weapon for us when we want to get the ball reversing. The way he releases the ball, he can land it on the rough side and rough it up naturally,” Lyon said.
“I dare say it’s still going to play a part, but I don’t think it will play a part as quick as what it probably has in the past two Test matches.
“It’s going to depend on how rough we can get the rough side by hitting the wicket.”
Starc is expected to overcome a sore calf and retain his spot in Australia’s XI. The left-armer was restricted to batting duties on Monday but bowled at Tuesday’s training session.
Rabada’s two-Test suspension for making physical contact with Steve Smith was overturned upon appeal, allowing the spearhead to play the upcoming clash in Cape Town.
However, if the pitch plays as expected then Vernon Philander will arguably be the most dangerous threat to Australia’s batsmen.
Philander has regularly delighted on green seamers at his home ground. He has claimed 47 Test wickets at 16.34 in Cape Town, including a career-best innings haul of 6-42 that helped South Africa defeat India earlier this year.
“No doubt we’ll talk about him,” Lyon said.
“We’ll sit down and discuss everyone in that South African side. We need to pay each and every one of them respect.”
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