Warne foremost on South Africa's mind - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warne foremost on South Africa's mind

By James Dampney 19/12/2005 06:00:06 AM Comments (0)

South Africa still needs six more Australian wickets before it can even contemplate its second innings, but a certain blond legspinner is already foremost in the tourists' minds.

Australia will resume its second innings at 4-310, a lead of 272 runs with two days remaining of the first Test in Perth.

Brad Hodge is eyeing off his first Test ton after reaching 91 not out at stumps on Sunday, while local hero Mike Hussey is with him on 54.

Both survived dropped chances on day three and have taken full advantage.

Ricky Ponting (53) and Justin Langer (47) also found some form in the middle, although the later picked up a hamstring injury.

The extent of the injury will be known on Monday.

Langer has only just returned after missing two Tests against the West Indies with a fractured rib.

While the South African attack needs to make a quick breakthrough in the morning to stay within touch, Shane Warne has already entered the Proteas' thoughts.

Warne took his tally for the year to a world record 87 wickets after claiming 3-92 in the first innings.

The world's leading wicket-taker, Warne is looming as the critical figure in South Africa's second innings on a WACA wicket that should provide him with some assistance.

Asked if they would attack in the morning or try to contain Australia, Proteas coach Mickey Arthur said they would try both tactics.

But a certain Victorian spinner was high up in his thoughts.

"The ball's still fairly new, so I would've thought we'd give it a go first," Arthur said.

"And then obviously we've got to go into damage control mode I would've thought, because the target will be getting bigger and bigger.

"There is one huge factor and that's Shane Warne.

"The wicket's really good and we see now even the new ball didn't really come through.

"The influence of Shane Warne's going to be key."

If history is anything to go by, that could spell trouble for the tourists.

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