HARDER and wiser after four seasons in the Test cricket grinder, Australian quick Peter Siddle is primed to make minced meat of the much-vaunted South Africans.
The big Victorian was bristling with confidence on the sidelines of the Bushrangers' three-day trial match against the Ricky Ponting-led Tasmania on the Sunshine Coast yesterday - his mind's eye firmly fixed on the upcoming three-match Test series against new world No.1 South Africa.
Rebounding from "back stiffness" that restricted him to one Test appearance on Australia's successful tour of the West Indies in March and April, Siddle (pictured) said he felt good after a 13-over stint off a long run on Tuesday. He finished with figures of 0-23 from 13 overs and was rested yesterday - the final day.
That was only his second competitive bowl since his return from the West Indies after the first Test.
In his first hitout, he bowled 10 overs in a one-day game against South Australia in Brisbane last week.
Siddle will return to Victoria following tomorrow's one-day match against Tasmania at Caloundra's Henzell Park and expects to play three Sheffield Shield games before the first Test against South Africa starts at the Gabba on November 9.
"The back's fine. The body's feeling good," he said.
"It will be interesting to see how it pulls up after another bowl later in the week, but it's all good at this stage."
With a world ranking of No.7 and a career-best yield of 39 wickets at 24.56 in the 2011-12 season, Siddle believes he is nearing his prime.
Restricted to Test cricket these days to reduce the wear and tear on his body, the 27-year-old hopes to continue his progression against South Africa.
And while much has been made of South Africa's potent batting line-up - which many have labelled the game's best - the former competitive wood chopper remains unfazed by the hype.
He said: "Coming into last summer, everyone talked about how good India's batting line-up was, and they're the best in the world and all that type of thing.
"And the way that we played against them and how we ended that series so successfully (halted that talk).
"So I think the same thing's going to go here."
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