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Proteas prepared to get nasty at the WACA

AAP logoAAP 1/11/2016 Justin Chadwick

South African allrounder Vernon Philander predicts the three-Test series against Australia could feature some nasty moments as both teams attempt to gain the upper edge.

With the 2014 series in South Africa featuring some heavy sledging between the two cricketing powerhouses, the mind games have already begun heading into the first Test starting on Thursday at the WACA Ground.

Proteas paceman Dale Steyn has likened the Australian batting order to a snake, saying if you can cut off the head by getting David Warner and Steve Smith out cheaply, the rest will fail.

Australia retaliated by pointing out the inexperience in South Africa's batting line-up, highlighted by the injury absence of skipper AB de Villiers.

Philander said his bowling unit were prepared to make Australia's batsmen feel uncomfortable on what he hoped would be a juicy WACA deck.

"There are going to be times where we have to step it up and get a bit nasty," Philander said on Tuesday.

"There's going to be a time where a partnership is going to develop, and it's going to require one or two bowlers to put up their hands and get a bit ugly and make things uncomfortable.

"That definitely tests your character. It's part of Test cricket - testing your skills. And to get out there and basically win that moment for your team, it's going to be fun."

Philander said it was important to stay calm and collected during any heated moments.

If the Proteas opt to play four quicks, Philander will form a potent pace combination with Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa have won their past two Test series in Australia, and will be aiming to continue that golden run this summer.

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