Proteas captain Faf du Plessis admits that playing against an Australian side without Steve Smith and David Warner is “huge”.
Smith and Warner are currently serving their one-year bans from cricket following the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the sport early this year.
It has resulted in this being one of the darkest periods in Australian cricket history and they have struggled in all formats.
This past Sunday as the Proteas thrashed their hosts in the first of three ODIs in Perth, Australia slipped to seven straight losses in the format.
“The two batters that they have lost in Smith and Warner is huge for them,” Du Plessis told reporters on Thursday ahead of the second ODI in Adelaide on Friday.
“We always felt in the past when we played them that if we get those two cheaply that you could put real pressure on the rest of the batting line-up.
“They do leave big holes.”
Du Plessis did send messages to both Smith and Warner when the incident happened at Newlands in March, but he did not want to comment on the severity of the bans.
“Initially when it happened, we thought that it was harsh on the players,” he said.
“But it’s difficult for me to comment because I’m South African, I’m not Australian.
“I wasn’t here to understand how the people were affected by it or offended by it.
“The backlash that we saw in South Africa was massive and we could see it was bigger in Australia than what it has been or will be anywhere else in the world.”
Friday’s match starts at 05:20 (South African time). — Sport24