Aussies take tough talk to South Africa

CRICKET 

Australia have no plans to soften their bully-boy approach on next month's tour of South Africa, confident the intimidation game can dismantle the best Test side in the world.

David Warne0r claims members of South Africa's world No 1 team are "on the back foot as players" and says Australia will look to repeat the dose they gave England and get inside the heads of their opponents.

Warner said a combination of sledging and express paceman Mitchell Johnson's thunderbolts melted the mindset of England's experienced batsmen this summer - Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen averaged under 30 in the 5-0 Ashes annihilation.

The Proteas' top order features some of the most established and successful run-scorers in cricket, but even on their home soil Warner believes the South Africans are ripe for the picking.

"We know a couple of their blokes are probably on the back foot," he said at Australia's Ashes victory celebrations at the Sydney Opera House yesterday.

"We've got to work out how to get their players out as well. I know our bowlers are ready to go over there and give it to them.

"Apparently I said some rude things on stump mic that they couldn't [broadcast during the Ashes], but I don't recall anything.

"On the field you don't cross that line. We nudged that line a couple of times but I think we really got into their heads.

"Especially with Johno [Johnson] and the pressure of the other bowlers up the other end."

South Africa are fresh from a 1-0 home win over world No 2 India, in a two-match series where Hashim Amla was the only star batsman to consistently struggle.

Australia sense a vulnerability in South African ranks after the retirement of arguably the greatest allrounder of all-time, Jacques Kallis.

"It's a big loss for them," said Warner.

"They counted on him a couple of times when bowlers have been asked to come back in different spells so it will be interesting to see how they are without him."

Peter Siddle has joined captain Michael Clarke in declaring the Australian fast bowling attack as better than South Africa's powerhouse trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

However, Siddle said the challenge now was to prove it.

With Johnson fresh from taking 37 wickets at 13.9 in the Ashes, Siddle said Australia plan to pepper South Africa with another all-out assault.

"I can't see why not. I think the way we've played, we've played like that against them in the past and had success," Siddle said.

"I think we are [the best attack].

"It shows through the consistency we've had against England here throughout a five-Test series.

"With Mitch bowling fast and Ryan and I doing our role and Nathan with the spin from his end. The way we worked together at different stages broke partnerships and didn't let partnerships get big on us.

"That's what caused all the collapses so that's what we're looking to do over there and it could be a very good year for us if we continue to do that."

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