`Fortress` Centurion looms as `Proteas Gabba` for Oz ahead of first Test

Sydney, Feb 12: The Centurion Park, the venue for the first Test between South Africa and Australia, is reportedly looking similar to the Australian ground Gabba in Brisbane, with both pitches being ‘fortresses’ of their respective countries.

South Africa have won 14 of 18 Tests at Centurion, the venue for the three-Test series opener, a record that makes Australia’s 34 victories from 56 Tests in Brisbane look relatively mediocre.

However, News.com.au reports that the Test series that starts on Wednesday may be the closest Michael Clarke’s men get to recreating the feeling that grips touring sides when they trot onto the Gabba as both the pitches have bounce, the fans are vocal, the ground has an intimidating record and the opposition has an incredible pace attack.

Australian captain Michael Clarke is hoping to adapt a lot quicker on the Centurion than on other pitches in the world as Australian players are brought up on fast, bouncy wickets, which the Centurion is looking to offer on the first day of the first Test.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who has only played at the Gabba once due to the his side’s tendency to tour later in summer, is happy the visitors are starting their tour in Centurion, saying that it is always satisfying to come to familiar places where one has had success, either as an individual or as a team.

Australia will hope for fewer top-order collapses and more first-innings runs during this tour, but Clarke admits it would not be easy against a side like South Africa as it is going to be a good challenge for the Australian batsmen to come up against the South African bowlers, whom he deemed as the best he ever faced in his career. (ANI)