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Match facts August 19-23, Durban Start time 1000 local (0800 GMT)Big PictureThe world has already accepted cricket as a year-round - and not summer - sport, and now its South Africas turn. This is the first time Test cricket will be played in what is essentially winter, although Durbans balmy conditions beat summer in most places. The weather is certain, but at this time of the year, no one knows what to expect from the conditions, not even South Africa.The home side will begin their fresh start at an unfamiliar time of the year, and with their permanent captain and one of their premier pacemen out with injury. Stand-in leader Faf du Plessis admitted he does not know what to expect from the Durban strip, which did not appear unusually green the day before the match. Some say it will take turn, others feel it will be slow, and the prevailing view is that the quicks will have to work hard for their wickets.Among those are South Africas returning seamers, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, who will play together for the first time since November last year. The pair sat out most of the previous summer with injuries, but has recovered ahead of a busy season. They will face a stern test against New Zealands strong batting line-up, who played themselves into form in the preceding two-Test series in Zimbabwe, but will know this will be a much sterner challenge.New Zealand were shot out for 45 in the first innings of the first Test they played in South Africa three years ago, and lost both matches in the series by an innings. But they used that humiliation as a catalyst to rebuild and have since racked up a string of good results at home, and, importantly for their growth as a team, away. They want to be able to build on that, although history does not favour them in this series.New Zealand have never won a Test series against South Africa, but could see this as their best chance. They are ranked two places ahead of the hosts, and with a similarly balanced side and recent form behind them, could be seen as favourites. But South Africa are not keen to concede the advantage early on and have promised to start more aggressively than before in a bid to begin their rebirth.Form guideSouth Africa WLDLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)New Zealand WWLLWIn the spotlightAt the end of January, Faf du Plessis would have had reason to doubt he would play in this series. Du Plessis had scored one half-century in 13 innings dating back to South Africas tour of Bangladesh in July 2015 and was dropped for the Centurion Test against England. Fast-forward seven months and not only is du Plessis back in the team, but he is the captain in de Villiers injury-enforced absence. He will have to find form and a leadership style quickly as South Africa begin to rebuild.The last time New Zealand were in South Africa, BJ Watling was one of the few bright spots for the visitors. He finished behind Dean Brownlie in New Zealands batting charts with twin half-centuries in the Port Elizabeth Test. Since then, Watling has scored five Test centuries and has earned the praise of coach Mike Hesson for being able to change approach mid-game. Watling could bat as high as No. 5 in this series and will have additional run-scoring responsibility, which he has been tipped to take on with aplomb.Team newsThe much-anticipated return of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander will give South Africas attack its reputation back. While Morkel will not be around, the pair have Kagiso Rabada as a third prong. Dane Piedt will operate as the only specialist spinner, while JP Duminy is certain to be called on to bowl a bit too. De Villiers absence will see the return of du Plessis, in a familiar, if lacking-for-form, middle order. Stephen Cook has been promised an extended run at the top, which will mean Stiaan van Zyl is sidelined.South Africa: (probable) 1 Stephen Cook, 2 Dean Elgar, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 Temba Bavuma, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Quinton de Kock (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Dane Piedt, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Kagiso RabadaMost of the XI that did duty in Zimbabwe will retain their place. Henry Nicholls had an average series in Zimbabwe, where he failed to get past 20, but is likely to retain his place. Mitchell Santner, who has been asked to do more of an all-round job, may have a bigger role in both disciplines, and could also operate as the only specialist spinner. Conditions could keep Ish Sodhi out for Doug Bracewell to provide a fourth seam-bowling option.New Zealand: (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Doug Bracewell/Ish Sodhi 9 Neil Wagner, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Tim SoutheePitch and conditionsA foreign surface awaits both teams, neither of which knows what to expect from early-season conditions. Without baking hot sunshine to harden the surface, there is talk of a strip that could be slower than the usual South African surface, and one which may also take turn early on. The outfield is the main concern as it appeared patchy in places.Durbans rain-free winter was interrupted by showers in the week leading up to the Test and may interfere with the cricket. Rain is forecast for parts of Saturday and Monday, days two and four. Temperatures will remain in the early 20s with high humidity.Stats and triviaSouth Africa and New Zealand have played each other in 14 Test series dating back to 1932. New Zealand have never won, but have managed three draws, most recently in 2003-04 in New ZealandThere has never been a Test match played in Kingsmead in AugustDale Steyn is 16 wickets away from overtaking Shaun Pollock as South Africas leading wicket-taker in TestsQuotesI accept the fact that we havent played the best cricket. Losing 3-0 in India took a lot of our points away. It was tough conditions - we should have done better, but it was really tough. Where we are lying at the moment, at No. 6 or No. 7, is not where we are going to be. We have New Zealand at home and then Sri Lanka at home. If we win both these series, we will start to climb up the rankings.Faf du PlessisI dont think we regard ourselves as favourites. We know that South Africa are always a strong opposition, regardless of the rankings. 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With a win, SKC has the opportunity to jump as high as third in the table by the end of the weekend.The club suffered a 3-0 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday. Sporting KC is on an 11-game winless run in MLS, drawing four and losing seven since beating the New York Red Bulls 2-0 on April 9.SKC rested several normal starters on Tuesday, but Matt Besler, Jimmy Medranda, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer all are expected back in the lineup.There are still several regulars on the injury list, including NNuno Coelho (hamstring), Justin Mapp (calf), Tim Melia (back spasms), Chance Myers (hamstring), Lawrence Olum (abdomen) and Seth Sinovic (ankle).ddddddddddddPhiladelphia (10-9-7, 37 points) has already matched its point total from last season with eight games remaining.Seeking its first postseason appearance since 2011, fourth-place Philadelphia is nine points above the red line in the Eastern Conference. 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