sport

S Africa v Australia preview

South Africa will bid to claim a historic first home series win over Australia in the series-deciding final Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

Since returning to international cricket in 1991, South Africa have beaten every other Test nation except Australia in home and away series.

It seemed the sequence would continue when a Mitchell Johnson-inspired Australia won the first Test of the current series by 281 runs at Centurion.

But the hosts bounced back in emphatic style with a 231-run win in Port Elizabeth last weekend and now history awaits the world's top-ranked side.

They have an opportunity to clinch the series at a ground which has been a fortress for South Africa, who have won 18 of 26 post-isolation Tests at Newlands, with only three defeats - all against Australia.

The lead-up to the match has been overshadowed by Australia opener David Warner's claim that the Proteas used illegal means to provoke reverse swing in Port Elizabeth - pointing the finger at wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.

Warner was subsequently fined 15 per cent of his match fee, after pleading guilty to a charge of "making inappropriate comments".

Australia quick Ryan Harris, however, had no problem with South Africa's tactics and suggested Australia were more worried with finding a way to get the old ball to reverse.

"I've got no doubt what they did was fine, otherwise the umpires and the match referee would have done something," said Harris, who has struggled with a knee problem during the series.

"We didn't do it well enough so we've just got to make sure that if it (reverse swing) happens here (in Cape Town), somehow we've got to get it going."

Harris and fellow quick Peter Siddle are in danger of losing their places - with Jackson Bird and James Pattinson waiting in the wings - while all-rounder Shane Watson is expected to be recalled.

Watson will likely slot in at six, with Shaun Marsh or Alex Doolan making way, with the all-rounder's bowling offering support for the Australian attack.

"Having Watto back would be huge, having that extra bowler," Harris said.

"Who he comes in for I don't know, the guys who are already in there, Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh, didn't go well last game but have done well. Who knows. But I think we need Watto playing."

South Africa are expected to make two significant changes to their team.

Opening batsman Alviro Petersen, who withdrew from the second Test because of illness, is set to return despite his replacement Dean Elgar playing a crucial innings of 83 in Port Elizabeth.

Elgar is likely to drop down the order to number six or seven.

With left-arm fast-medium bowler Wayne Parnell ruled out with a groin injury, the Proteas have to decide whether to pick all-rounder Ryan McLaren, who suffered concussion when struck by a bouncer from Johnson in Centurion, or a specialist bowler.

Seamers Rory Kleinveldt and Kyle Abbott will be vying with fellow right-armer Ryan McLaren for the final place in the eleven.