"We're talking to him (Cummins) through his bit of experience there, Nathan Lyon's played a bit here as well, and pick a few of the batters' brains as well as to what a few of the wickets might do, because a few of us haven't played too much here".
The series is one for the purists - with four Tests and nothing else, starting in Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.
He has claimed 529 worldwide wickets across all three formats for South Africa. But the damage caused by Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood in Australia's Ashes rout of England has South Africa thinking again and possibly seeking slower surfaces for this series. "He's obviously a very big player for them". Even without the injured Dale Steyn South Africa still has an awesome fast bowling unit with Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel all possessing the ability to wreak havoc on the Australian batting line up.
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South Africa's bowlers struck fear into India in their opening two tests in January before the tourists settled in and won a consolation game in the three-match series. But the net result was Smith returned with a stunning tally of 687 runs which included a career-best 239 and saw Australia romp home to a 4-0 Test series win.
"Your guess is as good as mine but what I can tell you is that he is extremely motivated for this series", du Plessis said. "But he's a world-class player as I said before and I always want to challenge myself against the best batsmen in the world and AB de Villiers is one of the best of the world", he said.
That recent Ashes form and also almost 25 years of cricket history both favour Australia.
The Aussies have the wood over the Proteas in South Africa, not having a lost an away series since 1970, winning five and drawing two.
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With Test cricket getting synonymous with home victories, Australia and South Africa have managed to keep the spark of reverse possibilities alive.
The Proteas will also take plenty of confidence from their 2-1 series win in Australia only 15 months ago. The results may suggest that the teams have similar approaches, and are therefore adept in each other's conditions. It has been a long summer and every Test back home went five days and things like that, but in the end you're playing for your country and you find ways to get yourself up. As good as South Africa's star batsmen are, they just aren't as good as Smith.
Numerous senior Proteas players, including skipper Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, at various stages missed some the white-ball stuff against the Indians.
Given Australia's record in South Africa, the stability in the batting since they last played South Africa, the pace bowling cartel and the form of Steve Smith, it will the visitors' series to lose.
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