Centurion:It's there in the rarefied air of the Highveld. It's on the radio, it's being talked about in pubs even during a Manchester United-Arsenal game, it's on the streets, it will soon be seen from the grass banks. The No. 1 Test side in the world is here for a three-Test series, no longer the miserable tourists of the past, still with history against them. South Africa are ready, they are going to spice the pitches up a bit, they are going to try and make a move towards the ranking that was theirs before India took it away. It is a series that could define both the teams, but with two days to go the prudent thing to do is to sit on the fence and not call any favourites, as the following breakdown shows.
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are arguably the best opening combination going around today, but they haven't been tested in seamer-friendly conditions consistently by bowlers of the calibre of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Still it would need a very good combination to hold an edge over Sehwag and Gambhir. Graeme Smith is as tough as they come, and Alviro Petersen scored a century on debut against India. However, if Sehwag and Gambhir have to face a test of conditions, Zaheer Khan holds a mental edge over Smith. As it often happens, and as it might happen for the series overall, this one might just come down to Sehwag.