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Aust to get abrasive in search for reverse

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Josh Hazlewood believes Australia can learn a lot from South Africa's sloppy returns, which are understood to have earned captain Faf du Plessis a rebuke from both umpires during the first Test but helped scuff the ball.

The dark art of reverse swing and how best to attain it, which was a talking point throughout a heated 2014 series between the two sides, has hit the headlines again.

Kagiso Rabada, man of the match in the Proteas' 177-run victory at the WACA, troubled the hosts greatly with reverse swing.

In contrast, Australia struggled to make the ball "go Irish" consistently and failed to control the hooping Kookaburra as well as their opposition.

There is no suggestion from the Australian camp that South Africa engaged in anything illegal, as opposed to two years ago when David Warner all but accused AB de Villiers of ball tampering.

The Proteas' fielders used the abrasive centre-wicket block to help rough up one side of the ball, often bouncing the Kookaburra instead of returning it to keeper Quinton de Kock on the full.

Umpires Aleem Dar and Nigel Llong spoke with du Plessis at length during the game. It's understood the issue raised was the tourists' sloppy returns.

There was no penalty. The practice is frowned upon but fielders can easily argue it was a wayward return. They're also allowed to bounce the ball if returning it from the outfield.

Hazlewood wants his side to push the envelope on Saturday, when the second chapter of the three-Test series starts in Hobart.

"I think so. We are trying to throw it into the turf and scuff that one side up," the paceman said.

"They were pretty well drilled on it and got that one side roughed up and the other one shiny. We will continue to work on it."

Former Test paceman Ryan Harris agreed it was something Australia's fielders could improve on.

"That's what (the Proteas) were doing - pick the ball up, look at it and then throw it on the ground," Harris said.

"We have to do it better ... I have no problem with it."

Proteas opener Dean Elgar, who was full of praise for his side's quicks, denied it was a ploy.

"It's definitely not a deliberate tactic by us trying to land the ball (on the centre-wicket block)," Elgar said.

"You're allowed to bounce the ball in from the boundary.

"All teams around the world use that tactic these days ... all teams are welcome to do it, within the rules and regulations of the game."

A lush Bellerive Oval and heavy rain might make it a moot point this weekend.

"The conditions are going to be slightly different ... we are expecting there is not going to be as much reverse-swing," Peter Nevill told Sky Sports Radio.

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