South Africa in Australia, 2005-06 December 6, 2005

Symcox expects summer of sledging

Cricinfo staff

Pat Symcox says it's "payback time" for Shane Warne © Getty Images

Pat Symcox, the former South African offspinner, has told the Australians to expect a barrage of sledging when the three-Test series begins in Perth next week. Symcox also said it was "payback time" for Shane Warne after his decade of dominance over the Proteas, and the batsmen would look to sweep him off his line and length.

"There are going to be a lot of harsh things said out in the middle," Symcox told the Herald Sun. "I don't think either side is going to give an inch. South Africa will stand up to the Aussies this summer - Graeme Smith is strong minded, Jacques Kallis is strong minded; Mark Boucher, Makhaya Ntini, they are experienced."

The teams play similar styles with their up-front aggression and there have been numerous confrontations, including Smith's revelations in a South African sports magazine and Warne's regular 1990s jousts with Daryll Cullinan. Symcox, a former national selector and confrontational spinner, told the paper Warne was the world's best bowler "by a long shot" but the batsmen would attempt to disrupt him rhythm. "They will all try to sweep him," Symcox said. "He'll get his fair share of wickets but it just depends how much he gets them for."

Warne has a stunning record against South Africa, taking 101 wickets in 18 Tests since 1993-94, but Symcox said he would be targeted. "As far as Warne goes, it's payback time," Symcox said. "Warne has had it over us for a long time. But how well a team nullifies him often is how well they are going to do against Australia." The first Test starts at the WACA on December 16.