Aussies OK with weather demons

CRICKET 

South Africa is one of few countries where the absence of a tour game will not prejudice Australia's bid for a Test series win, according to paceman Ryan Harris.

Fresh from a 5-0 Ashes annihilation of England, heavy rain has restricted Australia since they arrived last week.

Their only tune-up fixture in South Africa before the First Test at Centurion starts next Wednesday was cancelled two days in advance, with the squad abandoning rain-swept Potchefstroom for Johannesburg.

They headed to the First Test venue yesterday optimistic of getting some practice outdoors, but knowing that roads in both Centurion and Johannesburg had been flooded and that SuperSport Park was soaked.

Alex Doolan, locked in a battle with Phil Hughes to claim the spot in the side vacated by George Bailey, has the flu and was not to train yesterday.

Harris struggled to remember a more frustrating start to a cricket tour.

"But that's the way it is. We have to deal with it," he said.

"... The guys as a group have dealt with it. There's no whinging.

"If we've not been able to bat or bowl we've been in the gym, we've done some running - the boys have just smashed it.

"We had to up camp yesterday in a matter of two or three hours. Everyone got told and just went to their room, packed and got on the bus."

Harris suggested the disrupted schedule would matter more in other parts of the world, but that every member of the squad already had a good idea of what to expect from South African pitches given the similarities to back home.

"Especially at Centurion," he said.

"I've played a couple of IPL games there and they're nice wickets, and watching the Tests that have been played there [recently] it's a good wicket.

"A fast wicket - probably a Gabba or WACA wicket. The guys know that."

"If we were going to India you'd want to play a tour game to get used to the wickets, but ... I'm ready to go. If the game was today or tomorrow, I'd be ready."

Harris was one of a handful of Australia's Test stars to have a red-ball hit-out in the second-tier state league before leaving Australia.

Contrasting that with South Africa's best playing in their national Twenty20 competition, and injuries sidelining Dale Steyn (rib) and AB de Villiers (hand), made Harris happy.

"They've probably got more dramas than us," he said.

AAP

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