Sport Sport Focus Sport on TV: A fan’s survival guide to the next few weeks
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Sport on TV: A fan’s survival guide to the next few weeks

Steve Smith David Warner
David Warner and Steve Smith have both accepted their bans. Photo: Getty
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Channel flicking last night and unable to find live sport? Welcome to sport’s ‘dead zone’.

Thankfully, its arrival was delayed this year with the Winter Olympics filling up most of a February that is annually frustrating for sports fans.

That gap between our home cricket season and the start of the NRL (March 8) and AFL (March 22) campaigns never seems to get easier – and for most of us, pre-season hit-outs and trial matches just won’t do.

What are we meant to do? Actually talk to our families or housemates or something?

On the plus side, there still is some good stuff on – you just need to look a little harder and, in most cases, have Foxtel.

Here’s the pick of the action over the next few weeks.

Test cricket (albeit in a difficult time zone)

Quality cricket returns to our television screens as soon as Thursday night when Australia’s Test tour of South Africa begins.

It promises to be an outstanding battle, with the Proteas ranked second in the world and the Aussies just one spot behind them.

The same series in 2014 was simply brilliant, with Michael Clarke’s men claiming it – and the world No.1 ranking – with just 27 balls of the third and final Test remaining in Cape Town.

The four-Test series begins in Durban on Thursday from 7pm (AEDT) on FoxSports, with play running until 2am.

NBL Finals

The business end of the basketball season begins on Saturday evening when table-topper Melbourne United hosts the New Zealand Breakers (5.30pm, SBS and Fox Sports).

Four teams remain in the competition, with United and the Breakers, and the Adelaide 36ers and the Perth Wildcats (who also begin their series on Saturday evening) facing each other in best-of-three semi-final clashes.

Adelaide 36ers NBL
The NBL is booming again. Photo: Getty

If it has been a while since you watched an NBL match, we’re pleased to report that the quality has risen dramatically in recent years – and big crowds have followed.

The semi-final winners will meet in the grand final series, which begins on Thursday, March 15.

Paralympics

The action from Pyeongchang is far from over and you can follow Australia’s best Paralympians in South Korea from March 9-18.

We’re sending 13 athletes to the Games, with Mitchell Gourley (Para-alpine skiing) and Joany Badenhorst (Para-snowboard) leading the charge.

The Para-alpine skiing appears our best medal chance, with seven Aussies competing, while we have four Para-snowboarders and two sighted guides in action.

Follow the Games via the Seven Network and its suite of channels.

A-League

Remember Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar and just how good they were?

This Sydney FC side isn’t far off – last’s season’s champions have lost just two of their past 51 matches!

They are on track to go back-to-back and take on the second-placed Newcastle Jets on Saturday evening at 5.35pm on Fox Sports.

On Friday evening, Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory meet in an always-entertaining derby at AAMI Park.

Elsewhere, the race for the finals means the next few rounds should be worth watching, with all matches live on FoxSports, while one Saturday evening fixture is screened on One.

AFLW

It is an even and exciting season of the AFL’s women’s competition, with just two matches separating first and last at the halfway mark.

Melbourne Brisbane AFLW
Brisbane has won three of its first four matches. Photo: Getty

Two of the early pacesetters collide on Friday evening, when Melbourne plays the Brisbane Lions (7pm, Fox Footy), while the impressive Western Bulldogs visit Canberra to play the GWS Giants on Saturday (7pm, Seven Network and Fox Footy).

Looking ahead, the March 17 battle between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs – the two clubs who got the AFLW off the ground – looks a beauty from Whitten Oval (7pm, 7 Mate and Fox Footy).

Tennis

Dubbed tennis’ ‘fifth grand slam’ for the prize money and ranking points on offer, the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki will all be in action at the ATP 1000 event at Indian Wells.

The tournament begins on March 8 and runs to March 18, with a healthy Australian contingent involved too.

Nick Kyrgios leads the way in the men’s singles and Ash Barty, Daria Gavrilova and Samantha Stosur will all compete in the women’s side of the tournament, screened on FoxSports.

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