Not a single South African player knows what it is to lose a Test series in Australia. Not a single Australian player knows what it is to win a home series against South Africa. For a pair of transitional teams, that is a significant fact.Add to it another: Australia have been clean swept in their most recent Test series in Sri Lanka, then swept again - by the Proteas no less - in an ODI series in South Africa. Throw in a pair of underdone Australian pacemen, a porous middle order and a fielding side far less formidable than many who went before them, and the picture is clear: this is not going to be easy for the hosts.South Africa, of course, are not the side they were. For the first time in more than a decade they are not being led to Australia by the commanding figure of Graeme Smith. AB de Villiers isnt here, and Morne Morkel is not yet 100% fit. But there is a sense of regeneration about the side, of setting new goals and forming a new identity. In junior years Faf du Plessis was often captain of the same teams de Villiers played in. Having gained his chance through injury, du Plessis, first seen by Australians with his serenely dead bat in Adelaide four years ago, now looks a natural leader.For Steven Smith, this is the series in which he faces a first major test at home. Well as he and his teams have performed against India, New Zealand and the West Indies, those sides boasted not a single series win down under between them over the past 23 years. South Africas methods are suited to Australia, much as the reverse is true on the other side of the Indian Ocean. Smith has taken solace in a wider record of home success - unbeaten since the Proteas last visit in 2012.Traditionally we have played well at home and its about us knowing what we do well here, he said. We have scored big first innings runs and that is going to be crucial for us this year again.Bowling aggressively to the tail, not being afraid to get it up there and intimidate them a little bit. To the top order consistently bowl good areas and challenge them on wickets that traditionally bounce a bit more than they are used to. It is important for us to do that this summer.Obviously we havent come off the back of much great cricket, South Africa was disappointing and Sri Lanka was as well, thats gone, weve left that behind and we are focusing on what we have can control now and that is this summer.Much talk has centred upon the mental battle, whether it be Dale Steyns familiar refrain about cutting the head off the snake in reference to Smith, or David Warner hoping to see the visitors pacemen losing their collective rag with a flurry of short balls at the WACA Ground. Smith has reiterated his desire to see his men strut around the middle like they own the place, not retreating into themselves as happened in Sri Lanka.Its about making sure that each individual can get the best out of themselves and have a presence about them, Smith said. Everyone does it differently, for someone it might be about getting into a verbal contest with a bowler to get themselves going. Or with a batter as a bowler.For me I dont like to say a great deal its more about making sure that my body language is right and Im puffing my chest out and looking like Im out there and I own the place. Its about each individual knowing what gets them going, and when they do that its going to be best for the team as well.For well over a decade, that approach tended to unnerve the South Africans in Australia. Both sides knew who had the edge when matches reached their pointy end, and it was the team of Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. But du Plessis leads a generation unfamiliar with that kind of mental block: as uncomfortable as the Australians will try to make things for the visitors, they will know how to push back effectively. We are a team that respects the opposition, no matter where we go in the world, du Plessis said. If its gets to a tough stage in the game, which is what Test cricket is all about, and it gets a bit loud out there in the middle, its just about soaking it in and understanding that you have to work your way to get the momentum on your side again.Thats Test cricket, thats normal for me. I think thats more the thing people forget to focus on, that Test cricket is like that. Its up and down. Then you are on top, then you are under pressure and you just got to soak it up and ride the wave until it gets on your side to put some pressure on the opposition.But the most pivotal factor in this series, and its opening match at the WACA, will be Mitchell Starc. Starc knows it, South Africa know it and Australia most certainly know it. Still nursing a deep cut to the left leg from a training mishap, Starc will push through some discomfort to try to be near his best and fastest. Smith said he will likely be using his most explosive asset in short bursts a la Mitchell Johnson.Id say there is a good chance of that, Smith said. He has traditionally done pretty well here at the WACA, I thought he bowled beautifully last year on a slow benign wicket, I would prefer this one to have some more pace and bounce to assist him out there.The Proteas are braced for impact, knowing that the ability to see out his spells will more than likely tell the tale. He is a fantastic bowler, du Plessis said. A guy that swings the ball and bowls quick, any captain would say thats something they would want in their team. Its important for us to make sure he doesnt get his tail up and doesnt get wickets. That would mean we put a big threat for Australia aside.Its important how we play him. If were going to win this series its going to be how well weve played him in those short bursts. Hes a wicket-taker so he needs to come on and get wickets. We as a team understand that. We need to make sure we get through those periods.Happy history down under should make a difference to the Proteas, and recent failures will trouble Australia. It remains to be seen how much all that will matter in the fraction of a second it takes for Starcs missiles to reach the other end of the pitch. Cheap Oakland Raiders Jerseys 2018 . If ever they start actually putting pictures beside words in the dictionary, the Blue Jays left-handers mug will appear beside “Consistency. Oakland Raiders Azeem Victor Jersey . The FA rejected Wilsheres appeal that the length of his punishment was "clearly excessive" and said Thursday his suspension begins with immediate effect. 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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Austin Nichols is one of several new players that figures prominently in the rotation for No. 8 Virginia, and while he arrived as a transfer from Memphis with a reputation as a gifted offensive player, hes adapted quickly to Tony Bennetts defensive philosophy.I think we can be a pretty good team, Nichols said after leading Virginia with 11 points in a 72-32 rout of St. Francis Brooklyn on Tuesday night. Weve just to continue focusing on defense.The Cavaliers (2-0) looked in midseason form at the other end of the floor, holding the Terriers of the Northeast Conference scoreless for a stretch of more than 10 minutes in the first half. Virginia scored 20 consecutive points in that stretch to open a 35-11 lead.The Cavaliers dont have a go-to scoring option so far, and even if one surfaces, Bennett said their focus will always be the same.I think this team understands that were going to have to be so good defensively, he said. Thats going to be our ticket.The Terriers (0-2) ended the drought on two free throws by Yunus Hopkinson with 7.8 seconds left in the half.These games do one of two things for you. They either make you stronger or break you, Terriers coach Glenn Braica said.Glenn Sanabria led St. Francis with 10 points and Gunnar Olafsson had seven.Nichols, who missed Virginias two preseason scrimmages and season-opener at UNC Greensboro while serving a suspension for violating a team rule, scored on an array and shots around the basket. Jarred Reuter added nine points and London Perrantes, Marial Shayok and Mamadi Diakite each had eight for Virginia. All 11 scholarship players for the Cavaliers scored and grabbed at leaast one rebound.ddddddddddddThe Terriers finished 11 for 48 from the field, 22.9 percent.BIG PICTURESt. Francis: The Terriers attempted 16 3-pointers in the first half and made just one, which is not the recipe for a team from the Northeast Conference to challenge a ranked or Power Five-level school. Having already lost at North Carolina State, they continue an early season gauntlet at Providence next Monday.Virginia: The early-season indoctrination of youth into coach Tony Bennetts lineup continued as freshmen Kyle Guy (21 minutes) and Ty Jerome (10) each got significant playing time and Diakite, a redshirt freshman, played 14.THE DOWN LOWNichols has plenty of company up front in 6-11 Jack Salt, 6-9 Diakite and 6-7 Reuter, and all made contributions.Jack started and had six points and two rebounds, Reuter and Diakite each grabbed four rebounds and Diakite had a block.Me and Manadi are more like finesse players, Nichols said, and the Bruise Brothers, Jarred and Jack, theyre the bangers inside.BULLSEYEVirginia walk-on Justice Bartley was one of three walk-ons who entered the game for Virginia with about 2 minutes to play, and Bennett was thrilled to see the sophomore score his first collegiate basket on a layup with 30 seconds remaining.HE SAID ITI think its $60,000, or $80,000. -- St. Francis Brooklyn coach Glenn Braica when asked what his team gets from facing Virginia.UP NEXTSt. Francis travels north to play at Providence next Monday night.Virginia continues a three-game home-stand with a visit from Yale on Sunday. 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