CRICKET: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis says the Proteas will have do their homework on star bowler Mitchell Starc before next month's three-Test series.
Starc was the only shining light from Australia's miserable 3-0 Test series loss in Sri Lanka.
The left-arm quick nabbed 24 wickets, causing problems for all batsmen, especially with the new ball.
The 26-year-old is expected to return for the first Test at the WACA in Perth starting on November 3 after his training ground accident in late September which left him with 30 stitches in his leg.
Du Plessis, standing in as skipper for AB De Villiers, who is recovering from elbow surgery, said Starc was a top-class performer and his team would have to work hard on finding ways to nullify him.
"Starc is a huge bowler for them,” he told reporters before the South Africans flew to Australia yesterday.
"We'll need to make sure we get good prep in with left-arm quicks.
"He's obviously someone who can crank it up and get it close to 150km/h and then obviously he's very good with reverse swing.”
The South Africans will arrive Down Under full of confidence after a 5-0 whitewash in the one-day series that finished last week.
While Australia captain Steve Smith and coach Darren Lehmann have played down the significance of that result because of a team weakened by the likes of Starc and Josh Hazlewood not playing, Du Plessis said the whitewash could give his team a mental edge.
"Beating Australia the way we did - really convincingly, not giving them a sniff - will leave a bit of a scar on them mentally,” he said.
"I appreciate it's Test cricket, a different format. They will have a different team, probably a more mature team (than their ODI squad).
"So it's important to start well in that first Test and remind them that we are in the same space as the one-day team.”
South Africa will start the tour with a two-day day-night tour match against a Cricket Australia invitation side at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Australia opener Shaun Marsh is racing to be fit for the first Test on his home ground.
The left-hander damaged a hamstring in Western Australia's Matador Cup clash against Tasmania on Saturday.
Marsh, who missed the ODI tour of South Africa with a broken finger, scored 70 in his team's win at North Sydney Oval but ended his innings limping.
WA Cricket described the injury as a "low-grade tear”.
"Marsh will return to Perth where he will undergo rehabilitation with a view to being available for selection for the First Test,” it said in a statement.
Marsh was recalled to the Australian Test team for the last of the three-Test series in Sri Lanka in place of Queenslander Joe Burns.
He took his chance with both hands, smashing 130 to add to his career-best 182 against the West Indies in his previous Test match last summer.
Injury-prone Marsh has played 18 Tests since hitting a ton on debut in September 2011.
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