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Starc, Siddle crank up pace ahead of Test

AAP logoAAP 1/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle have cranked up their speed ahead of the first Test at the WACA, where a pace shootout between Australia and South Africa looms large if the pitch is potent.

Starc and Siddle had teammates ducking and weaving on Tuesday, when Australia completed their main training session ahead of the three-Test series opener in Perth.

Both quicks had been in doubt for the clash because of fitness concerns.

Siddle, who is set to grab the final berth in the hosts' XI ahead of Joe Mennie, reaffirmed suggestions he'd increased his speed while recovering from back stress fractures.

"He's bowling faster than I have faced in the previous times," David Warner said.

"In the nets (he was) troubling us batsmen.

"He's hard to face and he's been our rock for many years now and he's got the games under him and the experience to know what to bring."

Opener Shaun Marsh would presumably agree with Warner's assessment, having copped a painful blow to the the arm while facing the veteran.

Starc, who was clocked at over 160 km/h at the WACA last year, also gave an insight into what he might be capable of this week despite a 1cm open wound in his left leg.

"He's bowling quick in those nets," Warner said.

"If we go back 12 months and see what he delivered out here, if there's a bit more pace in that wicket it could be even scarier."

It is a very big if.

WACA curator Matt Page has vowed to leave more grass on the strip compared to last year's dull draw, when Warner posted a double ton.

But Page will be limited in what he can achieve given Perth had its coldest September on record.

"It was flat and lacked a bit of pace ... in the last few years I've been playing here it's lacked that zip," Warner said of the WACA wicket.

"A couple of years ago we played South Africa in back to back one-dayers, it had nice bounce and carry ... we're hoping to see that because we love that contest with bat on ball."

The Proteas, who boast a star-studded pace attack headlined by Dale Steyn and have won their past two Tests at the WACA, share those sentiments.

Steyn recently noted the wickets of Steve Smith and Warner would be crucial in the series, suggesting "if you can cut off the head of the snake, the rest of the body tends to fall".

Warner insisted his side will not crumble if both he and Smith miss out on runs.

"I don't see that happening at all ... there's 11 players in the team. If Dale wants to start playing that game I'll let him do that," the 30-year-old opener said.

"That's fast bowler talk. We're not going to entertain those thoughts or scenarios.

"Hopefully they do get carried away, start bowling short and fast because at the end of the day you have to bowl at the stumps to get wickets."

The vice-captain welcomed the threat posed by one of the best pace attacks in the world.

"We had a first-hand opportunity to face their bowling attack recently in the one-day tour. We know what we're going to get," Warner said.

"They're all going to be fired up and pumped."

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