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The first Test match between Australia and South Africa starts on November 9. Stephan Shemilt and Jimmy Smallwood, writing for the BBC, ask whether Michael Clarke's side can continue their five-series winning spree to claim top ranking.
Australia's improvement has coincided with the emergence of a number of young pacemen to complement the more experienced Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus.
The rise of James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc has led Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence coach Stuart Law to state that the Baggy Green bid to regain the Ashes in 2013 will be built on "pace and aggression".
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