South Africa coach Gary Kirsten has rejected suggestions that Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey are almost finished, warning that the Proteas' world-class bowling attack is a challenge that will motivate the veteran Australian duo to perform better.
Ponting and Hussey's reflexes will be tested as they take on the Proteas pace trinity-Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel in the first Test at The Gabba, starting Friday.
Ponting, 38 next month, failed during Australia's tour of South Africa last November, being trapped lbw on three consecutive occasions for 8, 0 and 0 as he struggled with the sustained pace and movement of Steyn and Philander.
Hussey, meanwhile, is under pressure to break the shackles against the Proteas, against whom he averages 33.88 from 14 Tests, well short of his magnificent career mark of 50.07, News.com.au reports.
"I know through a bit of experience that when you get challenged that you can't handle something, you step up in that situation. They (Ponting and Hussey) haven't got the records they've got just by pitching. They have some serious class behind them, those guys step up when they need to and we expect nothing less from them in this series," said Kirsten.
Asked if the Australian top-order is vulnerable without the injured Shane Watson, Kirsten said: "We've got to bowl well, any guy can score runs in a Test, but we need to do our business right. We have looked at areas than we can exploit within the Australian team. We feel if we can put pressure on them in certain areas then we can make some plays in those big moments."
Kirsten said the Proteas' lack of longer-form experience at the Gabba would not halt their desire to beat Australia and become the undisputed kings of world cricket. (ANI)