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Starc, Siddle ready and able: Steve Smith

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Steve Smith wants Australia to "own" the WACA during the first Test, when the fitness of Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle will be put to the ultimate challenge against South Africa.

Siddle's experience meant he edged Joe Mennie and claimed the final spot in Australia's XI for the three-Test series opener, starting on Thursday in Perth.

Starc will play with a 1cm open wound in his left leg, having done limited work since a freak training accident resulted in a gash that required 30 stitches.

Siddle's preparation has also been far from ideal. The 31-year-old broke down in February with stress fractures in his back and only returned three weeks ago.

The 31-year-old has played three one-dayers and a single first-class game for Victoria since making his comeback.

Should the hosts be asked to bowl first and the pitch is anywhere near as flat as it was last year, when David Warner and Ross Taylor posted double tons in a dull drawn Test, it could be a taxing day for Starc and Siddle.

"The plan is to bat for as long as possible," South African skipper Faf du Plessis said, when asked about the prospect of wearing out Starc and Siddle.

Smith preferred to see the upside of the quicks' recent stint on the sidelines.

"They're quite fresh so they might be able to sustain things a little bit longer than maybe the medical staff would like them to," Smith said.

"They're fresh and ready to go."

Smith indicated Starc was likely to be used in short spells of four or five overs, as was the case with Mitchell Johnson during his prime.

Starc was sorely missed during Australia's recent one-day tour of South Africa, which the hosts claimed 5-0, and du Plessis didn't bother trying to underplay the spearhead's importance.

"He is a fantastic bowler ... if we're going to win this series, it's going to be how well we've played him in those short bursts," du Plessis said.

"It's important for us to make sure he doesn't get his tail up and doesn't get wickets. That would mean we put a big threat for Australia aside."

Smith called on his side to play with intensity and attitude, but made it clear that didn't mean unleashing a verbal barrage.

"I don't like to say a great deal. It's more about making sure that my body language is right and I'm puffing my chest out and looking like I'm out there and I own the place," the skipper said.

"I've been working on that and, hopefully, we can see some good presence from the Australian team this summer."

The 27-year-old acknowledged Australia were under pressure to deliver on home soil, having been embarrassed in a 3-0 Test series loss earlier this year in Sri Lanka.

But the classy right-hander is adamant his side will rediscover their mojo on more-familiar pitches.

"Traditionally, we have played well at home ... we have scored big first-innings runs and that is going to be crucial for us this year again," he said.

"And bowling aggressively to the tail, not being afraid to get it up there and intimidate them a little bit."

Beanpole Morne Morkel has been passed fit but du Plessis is yet to reveal whether the tourists will unleash a four-pronged pace attack in Perth.

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