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‘Will be interesting to see how SA cope sans Kallis’

Sydney: Australia plan to use the same intimidating tactics that unravelled England in next month’s tour of South Africa, opening batsman David Warner said on Tuesday.

Warner claims members of South Africa’s top-ranked team are “on the back foot as players” and will miss Jacques Kallis in the three-Test series. According to Warner, a combination of sledging and thunderbolts from express paceman Mitchell Johnson unhinged England’s experienced batsmen in the Ashes, with Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen all averaging under 30 in the 5-0 series annihilation.

Even though the Proteas feature some of the most established and successful run-scorers in cricket, Warner believes the South Africans are ripe for the picking.

“We know a couple of their blokes are probably on the back foot,” Warner said at a reception for Australia’s Ashes team at Sydney’s Opera House. “We’ve got to work on how to get their players out as well. I know our bowlers are ready to go over there and give it to them.”

He added that sledging would play a part in their approach. But the team would not go too far.

“Apparently, I said some rude things on stump microphone that they couldn’t broadcast (during the Ashes), but I don’t recall anything,” he said.

“On the field you don’t cross that line. We nudged that line a couple of times, but I think we really got into their heads. Especially with Johno (Johnson) and the pressure of the other bowlers up the other end.”

South Africa are fresh from a 1-0 home victory over world No. 2 India, in a two-match series where Hashim Amla (average 14) was the only star batsman to struggle continuously.

However, Australia sense a vulnerability in the South African ranks, following the retirement of all-rounder Kallis. “It’s a big loss for them,” said Warner.

“They’ve counted on him a couple of times when bowlers have been asked to come back in different spells. So, it will be interesting to see how they are without him.”

Meanwhile, pacer Ryan Harris will put off knee surgery until after the Tests versus South Africa. Harris said he needs a clean out of his right knee to remove fragments of floating bone.

“My knee is no different now than it was a month ago or six weeks ago,” he said. “Unless something really goes wrong, which I don’t think will, we’ve got enough time off to get it (knee) cleaned up and go from there after the series against South Africa.”

Harris, who took 22 wickets in the Ashes series, revealed he considered having knee surgery that would have ruled him out of the fourth and fifth Tests against England.

“There’s bits of bone floating around and we were thinking about doing it then and there and missing the rest of the series,” he said.