South African all-rounder Vernon Philander says the Proteas must not be afraid to “get nasty” towards Australia’s batting line-up when the first Test starts in Perth on Thursday.
South Africa has won its past two Tests at the WACA Ground, and its pace attack is looming as a key factor in the three-Test series.
Spearhead Dale Steyn has already put Australia’s batsmen on high alert, saying he would target Steve Smith and David Warner in an attempt to “cut the head off the snake” of the home nation.
Those comments have been dismissed by Warner, who denied suggestions of vulnerability within the Australian line-up.
“We know what we’re going to get, we know what we’re going to expect,” Warner said.
“They’re all going to be fired up and pumped and so are we as batsmen and as a team, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge and speaking to our other guys — they’re pumped as well.”
Warner refused to be drawn into a war of words with the Proteas quick.
“If Dale wants to start playing that game then I’ll let him do that,” he said.
“For us it’s about going out there and doing our best, and if he feels that cutting the head off the snake [will lead to] everyone else falling apart, I don’t see that happening at all.”

Australia’s David Warner reacts after playing a shot against New Zealand in Christchurch


PHOTO David Warner denies there is vulnerability in the Australian line-up.

Philander, who has taken 25 wickets in his previous seven Tests against Australia, stopped short of echoing his countryman’s warning.
He said consistent bowling would be the key to victory.
“The simpler you keep it the better it becomes,” he said.
“It is a wicket you can get carried away, when you see the pace and bounce carrying through to the keeper.
“We need to be ultra-disciplined and not give the batters too much to score out there.”
But the 31-year-old said the Proteas would not be afraid to get hostile.

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