PERTH, Nov 28: Australia’s pace spearhead Peter Siddle said on Wednesday he is confident of being fit to play in the decisive third Test against South Africa starting on Friday.

Siddle has been recovering from a marathon 33-over bowling effort in intense heat in the fourth innings of the drawn second Test in Adelaide and will not bowl in the nets until Thursday.

On Wednesday he his body was responding well and he is confident he will be ready to play at the WACA Ground.

The 28-year-old said his bowling spell on Monday was one of the toughest experiences of his Test career.

“It was very dry heat out on the field which was tough work and a lot of overs ... just a bit of exhaustion and fight trying to get those last couple of wickets,” Siddle said.

Faf du Plessis weathered Australia’s bowling attack throughout the final day of the second Test to score an unbeaten maiden century and help South Africa salvage a draw.

Despite Australia’s official policy of rotating their fast bowlers to ensure adequate recovery time and avoid burnout, the loss of paceman James Pattinson for the season with a side strain makes Siddle’s fitness for the third Test vital.

“Last couple of days I’ll just take it easy and get ready tomorrow [Thursday] and prepare then. I feel good, I’ve got plenty of sleep and the body is feeling good which is nice,” Siddle said.

“I woke up feeling good this morning ... so I’ll have a bit of a trundle tomorrow and see how we go there.’’    The loss of Pattinson midway through the second Test also provides a reminder of the dangers of pushing a body too far.

“I don’t want to miss any Test matches ... but I’ve still got to think of the end result,” said Siddle, who says he expects to have final say on his fitness and doesn’t anticipate selectors enforcing the rotation policy on him without consultation.    “I’m feeling good now, I’ve recovered well ... but if I’m struggling through tomorrow or if I don’t feel 100 percent I’ve got to talk to the captain, the selectors and work out what’s best.”

Australia played four quicks in last year’s thrashing of India at Perth, and selectors have that option again with Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood all picked in the squad.

Siddle said Johnson had fitted back in into the side well after 12 months out of Test cricket.

“We’ve spent a lot of time together and played a lot of cricket together so it’s nice to have him back around the group,” Siddle said. “My [Victoria] team-mate John Hastings and young Josh Hazlewood is back in the group — so it’s a good group of guys.”—AP

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