Simmons; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (capt

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Match factsAugust 27-31, 2016 Start time 1000 local (0800 GMT)Big PictureThis is South African crickets week to find out what the countrys other two big sports experience all the time. Rugby and football are used to one-off encounters with other countries.Although the cricket teams have spoken about the winner-takes-all fixture in slightly different tones, with New Zealand calling it exciting and South Africa admitting it definitely adds to the pressure of the occasion, they both agreed that more matches would be better. Faf du Plessis explained how a three or four match rubber would allow for a better ebb and flow, and Trent Boult said he wanted to test himself against the best for longer periods of time.They will both have to wait until March next year to meet again. This series will be decided on the next five days. At least, they could not have asked for a better place for the crunch clash.SuperSport Park has laid out a green carpet, with a re-laid outfield that will not pose the same problems as Durbans because it underwent the process much earlier. The pitch underwent almost three weeks of preparation and the groundsman predicts an even, if slower than usual, contest between bat and ball. The Highveld winter, meanwhile, has reached its balmiest stage, the one that would be called summer in many parts of the world.Du Plessis expected the contest to be between two high quality, bowling attacks, who he said left Durban happy, which puts both line-ups under pressure. South Africa did not apply themselves as well as they wanted to in the opener, New Zealand did not get the chance to apply themselves at all. Whoever does it better this time, will take the series.Victory for South Africa will see them climb a place on the Test rankings to No.6 while a win for New Zealand, who will remain at No.5 regardless of the result, will give them a first-ever series triumph over South Africa.Form guide(last five completed matches, most recent first)South Africa: DWLDLNew Zealand: DWWLLIn the spotlightSouth Africas new opener Stephen Cook scored a century on debut at SuperSport Park in January and will want another big performance to cement his place at the top of the order for the rest of the Test summer. Cook played out the first hour of the Durban Test with Dean Elgar before falling to a delivery he was forced to play at from Boult. Cook has a solid technique but will want to get more on the front foot to assert himself on New Zealands attack.Before moving to New Zealand Neil Wagner played his domestic cricket in Pretoria but, like everyone else, he would not have played it in winter. Conditions will be as alien to him as to both camps but his team-mates are still hoping to tap into his knowledge of the ground as they go in search of South African wickets. Wagners short ball could be one of their key weapons, even on a surface that may not have as much bounce and carry as usual. He showed in Bulawayo that he could still use the strategy with success and will want to show it at his former home ground.Teams newsSouth Africa are considering some changes based on conditions, which du Plessis summed up as a soft and moist. They are toying with the idea of playing an extra seamer or an allrounder, which could bring Wayne Parnell into the team, ahead of either Dane Piedt or JP Duminy. Should Duminy miss out, it would leave South Africa a batsman short; there may not be enough room for Stiaan van Zyl - the only reserve batsman in the squad.South Africa (possible): 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Stephen Cook, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 Temba Bavuma, 6 JP Duminy/Wayne Parnell, 7 Quinton de Kock (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Dane PiedtNew Zealand, on the other hand, are likely to go in with the same team from the Durban Test.New Zealand(possible): 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, 9 Neil Wagner, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Trent BoultPitch and conditionsIf you are nervous about the chances of play after what happened in Durban, you can exhale. Although SuperSport Parks outfield, like Kingsmeads was relaid, the work in Centurion took place in April, more than two months before it did in Durban. In the days leading up to the match, the outfield appeared lush, with its new winter grass coating promising to help the ball to the boundary. All the focus on the outfield has taken eyes off the pitch, which is likely to be less lively than a traditional Centurion strip, although du Plessis said he spotted some moisture. Beautiful days are forecast for all five days, with temperatures in the high 20s and cloudless skies.Stats and triviaOf the 21 Tests they have played in Centurion, South Africa have only lost two - one against Australia in February 2014 and the other against England in January 2000. They have played New Zealand twice at the venue, in 2006 and 2007, and won both by big margins of 128 runs, and an innings and 59 runs respectively.Ross Taylor has not been dismissed on New Zealands African safari so far. He has batted in four innings and scored 366 runs in Zimbabwe and South Africa.QuotesThe great thing for us is that weve got a great record here; so we can rely on that and have the confidence of going into a match knowing that we play well on this ground. We trust that.Faf du Plessis is banking on home advantage in the Centurion TestIts not looked at very closely. Its about us playing our cricket, improving and learning.Kane Williamson on the prospect of winning a first-ever series in South Africa Heat Jerseys China . -- Derrick Rose shook off poor shooting early to hit clutch shots late and Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 104-95 preseason victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. 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Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says Sean McMahon is the clear long-term frontrunner to replace David Pocock after winning selection for Saturdays Rugby Championship clash against South Africa.McMahons inclusion for the injured Pocock (broken hand) is the only change made by Cheika to the starting side that beat Argentina in their last outing two weeks ago.The 22-year-old workhorse also filled in for Pocock when he suffered a fractured eye socket during Junes three-Test series against England.Cheika said McMahons improved lineout play and strong ball-carrying ability made it a clear choice, believing he will be perfectly suited to the high-altitude conditions at Loftus Versfeld.Its nice for us to be able to add a strong ball carrier into the back-row, Cheika said.Hes maybe not as tall as your traditional eight, but hes starting to get some of the qualities that a traditional eight has - ball carries, a strong tackle, which Poeys got as well.Pocock is taking a break from rugby in 2017, meaning his regular position at the back of the scrum is up for grabs.Cheika said the likes of Ben McCalman and Lopeti Timani were also in the mix but McMahon now has the inside running.At the moment hes playing in the Test so hes going to be thhe frontrunner, he said.ddddddddddddTimani, who made his Test debut off the bench against Los Pumas, is the only other player in the current Wallaby squad who was being considered at No.8.Weve been feeling pretty comfortable with him on the finishing bench to play that role and hes been working hard on it, Cheika said.Hes done a lot of work on his jump so we feel confident for him to be able to perform on the lineout as well.Meanwhile, young prop Allan Alaalatoa has overcome a knee strain and is fit enough to face the Springboks but there is a strong possibility Tom Robertson will keep him out of the side after an impressive debut in Perth.Fijian-born wingers Sefa Naivalu and Henry Speight are also in a head-to-head battle for a likely bench spot, assuming Cheika opts for a 5-3 configuration.The Wallabies will unveil their bench on Friday.Wallabies: Israel Folau; Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Reece Hodge; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Michael Hooper, Sean McMahon, Dean Mumm; Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (capt), Scott Sio. 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