Dale Steyn vs Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris vs Vernon Philander and Peter Siddle vs Morne Morkel - a pace contest of the highest order awaits all Test cricket fans when the South Africa vs Australia Test series get underway with the first Test match at Centurion starting Wednesday.
While plenty of eyeballs will be set on the IPL auction, quite a bit of them will switch to the first ball of this epic slug-fest on Wednesday afternoon India time, with South Africa looking to reaffirm their status as the best Test team in the world against a side that ran riot against England in the Ashes.
"If you are the No.1 team in the world you have to be favourites," SA skipper Graeme Smith said.
"It's something we have become accustomed to and we've become very comfortable with it.
"We've been No.1 in the world for a period of time and travelled to some tough places to firstly get it, and to defend it."
South Africa have been the most consistent Test side for quite a while now, having not lost a single series at home or away for five years. That shows the magnitude of the test that awaits Australia - but then this is a side that made England look like a pub team, and a team that holds perhaps the fastest bowler in the planet at the moment - that left-armed short ball machine called Mitchell Johnson.
"When you play Australia, you expect to play a certain way and we don't expect anything different this time," Smith said. "All the talk, it's all a side show. It's really all about the cricket and that's what we want to focus on.
"The Aussies have been good for ticket sales and newspaper sales. It's been business as usual for us. Behind the scenes, it's been really focused. I sit here today and feel we are ready to go. We know how to win on this ground."
The Centurion wicket has been described Gabba-like and Michael Clarke and his band will certainly be familiar of how to win on such a pitch, having started the tormenting of England in Brisbane.
"The wicket's going to be pretty Gabba-like I would have thought," Australia's fast bowling coach Craig McDermott said. The wicket is not exactly totally flat either, so we'll just see how the roller treats that.
"If you were starting today, you'd probably bowl first but we'll see. The weather forecast is supposed to be hotter and clearer [and] the wicket will dry out a lot in the next few days.
"We've just got to get it right -- we bowled first in Melbourne [in the Boxing Day Test against England] and we didn't quite get it right in that first hour."
Clarke, after that Ashes whitewash, said he would not rest until he takes Australia back to the No. 1 position in the Test rankings - win at South Africa, and that aim will get just that lot more closer.
Team news: South Africa: Smith has to fill that ridiculously, unimaginable Jacques Kallis size hole, with the all-rounder of the generation retiring from Test cricket after the India series.
Ryan McLaren or Wayne Parnell looks like taking the big man's place, with Faf Du Plessis set to move up to No.4 in the batting order. JP Duminy has a slight injury to his wrist, but is expected to be available.
Australia: Shane Watson has been ruled out of the first Test with a calf injury, and with George Bailey not picked for the series, the away side will have to make two changes to the lineup that trampled England.
Alex Doolan looks certain to be one of the players to come in, with Philip Hughes likely to miss out at the expense of the fit-again Shaun Marsh, who was brought back into the squad following the injury to Watson.
"I haven't got the 11 players yet from the selectors, so I don't think it would be fair for me to talk about individual players -- who's in, who's out," Clarke said.
Expected lineups: South Africa: Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis, AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.
Australia: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Alex Doolan, Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Shaun Marsh, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon.
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