Sydney: South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald on Tuesday called his country's current pace attack the best he has seen, as they fine-tune ahead of a three Test series against Australia.
Donald in his prime was one of the best fast bowlers ever seen in Test cricket, ripping through opposition batsmen with partner Shaun Pollock, but even he admitted the current crop was a league above. "I would have to say that, yes," Donald told reporters.
"I'm not just saying that, because I was part of an attack with Shaun Pollock and myself and a few others, and I say that humbly and respectfully, I think this is as good as it gets."
South Africa jetted into Australia Sunday aiming to consolidate their position as the number one Test team, which they earned in August with a series triumph in England.Much pre-series media attention has centred on the quality of the South African pace attack, led by Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, and how Australia's top order will deal with them.
Donald, who terrorised opposition batsmen in the 1990s, said the South African bowlers' greatest asset was their ability to work as a group."They've been bowling together for quite some time," he said.
"Momentum's been built over the past couple of years, consistency in selection and it's nice to have a group of guys that know what they're about."
Australian coach Mickey Arthur, himself a South African, acknowledged earlier this month that his top order batsmen face a "baptism of fire". "It's going to be about the batters," Arthur said of the series.
"It is going to be about which top six can adapt better, which top six is going to be more consistent over the three Test series. I think both top sixes are in for a real baptism of fire."
Australia head to the first Test in Brisbane next week with Ed Cowan opening the innings alongside big-hitting David Warner. They will be followed to the crease by Shane Watson and then 165-Test veteran Ricky Ponting, who is in fine touch, scoring 350 runs at an average of 125.00 in his last three first-class games.
Skipper Michael Clarke is expected to bat five and Mike Hussey six.After a three-day warm-up against Australia A in Sydney from November 2, the Brisbane Test begins on November 9, the second at the Adelaide Oval on November 22 and the last on November 30 at the Waca in Perth.