Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur has foreshadowed a torrid pace showdown in the upcoming series against South Africa, but says it will give some of his top six the opportunity to forge a long Test career.
Five of the world's top nine Test bowlers are set to take part in the three-match series in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in November and December.
The Proteas will unleash a pace attack including Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel ranked first, second and ninth respectively.
Australia have numbers six and seven in Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle respectively and plenty more quicks as well.
Veterans Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Clint McKay will vie for spots along with rising stars James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
Emerging top-order batsmen Ed Cowan and David Warner are set to face the stiffest test of their international credentials, as they lock horns with the No 1-ranked Proteas, who recently deposed England from the top spot.
"It's going to be about the batters - it's going to be about which top six can adapt better and which top six is going to be more consistent over a three-Test series," Arthur said yesterday in Sydney.
"I think both top sixes are in for a real baptism of fire and it's going to be a real good opportunity for some of our top six especially to test themselves against two really world-class bowlers.
"If they come out on top after that, they can look forward to a really good, long Test career."
South African-born Arthur, who coached the Proteas for five years, said he did not feel he had a point to prove to his compatriots. He said his knowledge of the players would help with planning and the fact he had built good relationships with them added a little more spice for him.
Arthur stressed that there was a more important reason to beat the Proteas.
"Getting one over them means Australia is number one in the world and that's exactly the position we want to be in." AAP