South Africa in Australia 2008-09 December 8, 2008

Potent bowlers fire South Africa

Cricinfo staff

Makhaya Ntini is one of South Africa's three big dangers with the ball © Getty Images

South Africa carry "unbelievable potential" in their bowling line-up but the coach Mickey Arthur has warned they are not at the level of the great West Indies attacks of the 1990s. Pace will be a crucial asset for the tourists, who arrived in Perth on Sunday, as they attempt to win their first series in Australia over the next month.

Dale Steyn, a 25-year-old who can deliver outswingers at 150kph, leads the attack that is complemented by the experienced Makhaya Ntini and the 24-year-old Morne Morkel. "People must realise that our guys are still young," Arthur told AAP. "They are not the West Indies attack of the 1990s, as they were written up in England.

"But they are learning all the time and there's unbelievable potential. There's a huge amount of potential there. You've got Makhaya who bowls from a different angle, you've got Dale who swings it out and you've got Morne Morkel who is quick and bouncy."

Arthur said the group was "covered in all areas". "People have often said our attack is one-dimensional," he said. "You'll see three different quick bowlers, all who bring different elements to our attack, which is brilliant, lots of variation."

It is one component in a two-year plan to prepare the squad for a tough tour of Australia. "We come here as a pretty settled and deep unit," Arthur said. "We have huge respect for Australia. They haven't lost a home series since 1992-93, so we know what awaits us. We are going to be challenged in every way."

The opening Test starts in Perth on December 17 and a fast surface is expected. Arthur is not sure what will be provided but he will gain a better understanding of the surface during a couple of practice matches against Western Australia teams over the next week. "I have seen that it is getting quicker though," he said. "I'm confident we'll adjust quite quickly."