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Here we go... but can Aussie quicks go the distance?


Regardless of what happens at the WACA today, Australia face a tough challenge nursing their pace guns through six Tests this summer.

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Australia maintained an unchanged attack throughout their 2013-14 Ashes success but that was partly because many of the Tests finished early.

South Africa are unlikely to surrender so meekly in Perth. If so, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle could be required to send down some long spells.

If the first Test runs for five days, both sides will only have four days to recover before facing off in Hobart.

There are similar short turnarounds throughout the schedule over the next two months, meaning Starc may not be granted his wish of playing all six Tests.

“It is a lot to get through, we will just have to weigh it up Test by Test,” skipper Steve Smith said, when asked how his side will manage the workloads of their underdone quicks.

“Some Tests might happen a bit quicker and they won’t bowl a lot of overs so they will be ok.

“I guess it is about summing it up over the summer and making sure we have somebody ready to go if we do have guys break down, or big spikes in their workloads and the medical staff get worried about them.”

Starc’s importance to the hosts is underlined by the fact the spearhead will bowl with a 1cm open wound in his left leg.

Starc was nursed through last week’s Sheffield Shield return and has admitted he is almost two weeks behind where he’d like to be in terms of an ideal preparation.

The left-armer is nonetheless potent.

“If we’re going to win this series it’s going to be how well we’ve played him in those short bursts,” South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said of Starc.

Starc would be sorely missed as there is nobody available who can generate anything close to his sort of express pace and control.

Young guns James Pattinson and Pat Cummins are both no chance of playing Test cricket this summer.

Hazlewood was rested from a recent one-day tour of South Africa and is upbeat he will be able to power through six Tests, as was the case last summer.

Siddle broke down in February with stress fractures in his back and only returned three weeks ago.

Redback Joe Mennie will be handed a baggy green next week if Siddle is omitted because of form or fitness.

Mennie is set to play the upcoming Sheffield Shield round for South Australia then link up with the Test squad in Hobart.


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