If South Africa’s vastly respected and proven pace attack needed any extra motivation for the looming home Test series against Australia, the Baggy Greens’ captain Michael Clarke provided it on Sunday.
Cock-a-hoop Clarke, speaking immediately after completion of a 5-0 Ashes humiliation of England in Sydney, revealed that even before the Test began he had told his pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle that they were the best in the world.
To add fuel to the fire, Australian fast bowler Peter Siddle on Tuesday joined captain Michael Clarke in declaring the Australian fast bowling attack better than South Africa's vaunted trio of Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel and Vernon Philander.
In our online poll a mere 5% of readers said they believed Australia possessed a better bowling attack than South Africa.
"What do you think of Michael Clarke's recent statement that Australia have the best bowling attack in the world?"
These were the results:
58% - Rubbish! South Africa's bowling attack remains the finest in the world!
37%- Too close to call. We'll have to see who wins the Test series starting in February...
5% - It's true. Australia have overtaken SA as the best bowling attack in the world...
This is what Sport24 readers had to say about Clarke's bullish statement:
"SA has the no.1 and 2 ranked test bowlers in the world ! Rest my case." - Unity
"You would think bowling the Convicts out for 47 in Cape Town in 2012 would put the fear of GOD back in them,but no gomgat Michael Clarke reckons he got all the bases covered for our test with them." - sean
"Look our pace attack is the proven one, thus the Ozzie must still wrest that mantle away after a sustained period of performance. Which they could, certainly not saying they can't but it hasn't happened quite yet.The only clear advantage they have is in the spin department." - Claire Serren
"Aussie dreams are going to go up in ashes!" - Phillip Buys
"It may not have been directed at our bowlers but it was arrogant none the less. He was quoted as saying they are the best in the world, if he wanted to 'motivate his troops' he couldve said they were up there with the best in the world. You don't hear Smith saying we have the best pace attack in the world but then again he doesn't have to, we have the ratings to prove it." - KGF
"Clarke will realize how much of a tool he is after Philander, Steyn and Morkal rip the flesh off the Aussie batsmen. Even if the dirty Aussies were placed last on the rankings there's nothing more satisfying turning those arrogant wet wipes into ground beef." - Stephen Trenam
"Arrogant Aussies as usual. Prior to this series, they didnt have a win in 10 tests. Over the summer people were syaing this is one of the worst aussie teams ever." - Paul Ryan
"Aus don't have quality batting line up like INDIA , SA pace attack will dominate." - Vaibhav Rahangdal
"Mind games have started, there'll be quite a few more jabs in the press before the 1st test at Centurion in just over a month. It all adds to the hype for 1 of the most eagerly awaited series in a long time but the biggest talking will be done on the field and I think the Proteas are definately up to it." - Shaun Davidson
"Pride comes before a fall." - Jane Dawson
"England said they had the best in Anderson & Broad before the Ashes." - Mario Kleynhans
"What a hiding awaits these ausies...cant wait." - RRS
"Proteas are consistently the best bowlers , Ausies had 1 great series against an English side that had no confidence - Bring on February!!" - David Meredith
"Always some controversy around the corner with the Aussies and Poms. I remember that just before SA toured the UK it was mentioned that they had the best bowling attack. Now the same thing. I watched the Ashes with keen interest and i would have to say that these guys did bowl well as a unit but certainly not the best in the world." - Gavin van Rooy
Is Michael Clarke getting ahead of himself? (AFP)