Michael Clarke aims to tame South African attack
Skipper Michael Clarke wants Australia's batsmen to blunt the vaunted South African pace attack by waging a war of attrition.
The Proteas boast Test cricket's two top-ranked bowlers – Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander – but Clarke says Australia's best chance of dethroning the number one ranked South Africans is to wear down their strike weapons.
The tourists have only brought four pace bowlers to Australia and Clarke senses an opportunity to erode their effectiveness throughout the three Tests.
Clarke, who has still to decide on his own bowling attack, wants batsmen to occupy the crease for long periods to test the physical endurance of Steyn, and Philander.
"It's certainly the hardest time to bat against the bowler's first spell," Clarke told a Test-eve press conference in Brisbane today.
"The longer they are out in the field the heavier their legs become so as a batting group we're really keen to spend as much time out in the middle as possible.
"They have only four fast bowlers in their touring party and if we can make them spend as much time in the field as possible, hopefully that we will put us in good stead for the next two Tests."
Steyn, 287 wickets in 57 Tests, and Philander, 63 wickets in just 10 Tests, are likely to be backed up by Morne Morkel, all-rounder Jacques Kallis and leg-spinner Imran Tahir in South Africa's first Test in Brisbane in 49 years.
"They are experienced and they have a very good attack," Clarke said.
"We know we have to be at our best and we're prepared for that, we know what's coming, we know what we are about to face and we're excited about the challenge."
Clarke is keen to return fire with fire and didn't shy away from talk that his side's pacemen will be peppering Graeme Smith's side with short-pitched deliveries on the greenish Gabba pitch.
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