Michael Clarke insists Australia have the best bowling attack in Test cricket
Michael Clarke believes Australia have the world's best bowling attack ahead of the huge Test series in South Africa.
Last Updated: 31/01/14 3:21pm
The ICC Test rankings have South Africa's bowling unit at No 1, with Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel producing a series of big performances over the last year.
But after Australia reclaimed the Ashes with an emphatic thrashing of England, Clarke has challenged the Proteas to prove they have a better attack when the three-Test series gets underway on February 12.
"I'm a little bit biased, but in my opinion this Australian attack is the best in the world," Clarke.
"From what I've seen from the Australian fast bowlers over a long period of time, I feel we have the best attack in the world."
Mitchell Johnson made a spectacular return to form in the Ashes as he claimed 37 wickets, and he received excellent support from Ryan Harris (22), spinner Nathan Lyon (19) and Peter Siddle (16).
Clarke is predicting that batsmen on both teams face a huge challenge on wickets that are expected to favour the pacemen.
"I think it's going to be a tough tour for the batters," he added. "You have two very good bowling attacks. I don't know what the wickets are going to be like, but generally there is a bit in the wickets in South Africa."
Clarke also insisted that Australia will begin the series as underdogs despite their clinical 5-0 whitewash of England.
"Being in South Africa's backyard, I would imagine they will be favourites but that doesn't bother us," he said.
"We just need to continue to play the way we played through the Australian summer.
"We need to make sure we're scoring enough runs. We're up against a very good bowling attack. Our bowlers need to keep executing to take 20 wickets in a test match.
"The South African batting line-up is extremely strong even without Jacques Kallis being in there."
Clarke and his team were criticised for excess sledging against England, but the Australia skipper believes the atmosphere in South Africa will be more cordial.
"I know Graeme Smith quite well and a lot of the South African players. There's a lot of mutual respect for both teams," he said.
"You'll see some hard-fought cricket, but both teams get on very well off the field. You'll see both teams get together after the game for a few quiet beers."
Australia will start their tour with a four-day warm-up match against a South African Invitational XI in Potchefstroom, starting on Wednesday.
Watch South Africa and Australia do battle LIVE on Sky Sports, coverage of the opening Test at Centurion starts on February 12 at 8.30am on Sky Sports 1.