Stern test for batters: Arthur

Top order batsmen will face a ‘baptism of fire’ in South Africa’s upcoming tour Down Under as the world’s two best pace line-ups face off, Australian coach Mickey Arthur said on Tuesday.

Australia are hoping to reclaim cricket’s world number one ranking over a packed Test schedule in the year ahead, starting with the first of three against top-ranked South Africa in Brisbane on November 9. “It’s going to be about the batsmen,” 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.”
Arthur said the ability of the Australian batsmen to hold off South Africa’s bowling line up, which includes pacemen Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, was an opportunity to prove themselves.

On Australia’s side, selector John Inverarity said there could be as many as five pace bowlers in the squad for the first Test at the Gabba, with James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Starc all in the mix.

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