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Graeme Pollock believes Oz team on the decline

Johannesburg, Dec.3 : Former South African opener Graeme Pollock believes that the Australian cricket team is on the decline, and will find it tough to retain its hold on its world champions status.

Pollock believes a resurgent South Africa will challenge the Australian team, which he considers highly vulnerable without former leg spinner Shane Warne.

Warne took 130 Test wickets at 24.16 in 24 Tests against South Africa.

"I think Aussie cricket is at the lowest ebb it has been for a very long time. The big difference now is that Warne has gone and Australia's spin bowling looks very average. In a series against South Africa, Australia will miss a guy like Shane Warne incredibly," the Herald Sun quoted Pollock, as saying.

The Proteas' top order has been in stunning form and three of their top six batsmen have scored more than 1000 Test runs this year - skipper Graeme Smith (1363 runs), Hashim Amla (1012) and Neil McKenzie (1002).

In contrast, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds are struggling and Ponting hasn't had the best few months.

Pollock is sure Smith's team - which has not been beaten in its past nine Test series stretching back to December 2006 - will arrive in Perth on Sunday seriously believing it can dethrone Australia.

"They will believe they can win the series in Australia, their track record in Tests recently has been great and they will see no reason why they shouldn't win," Pollock said.

Story first published: Wednesday, December 3, 2008, 12:24 [IST]
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