Australia and Proteas batting brittle - Harris

Former Australia bowler Ryan Harris says both the tourists and South Africa are vulnerable with the bat ahead of the first Test.

Former Australia paceman Ryan Harris   -  Getty Images

Ryan Harris believes both Australia and South Africa have "brittle" batting line-ups for bowlers to exploit ahead of the first Test at Kingsmead.

Australia and the Proteas head into the four-match series buoyed by impressive victories on home soil in the longest format.

Steve Smith's men emphatically regained the Ashes with a 4-0 hammering of England before Faf du Plessis' team brought top-ranked side India back down to earth with a 2-1 win.

Former Australia paceman Harris says it will be the fast bowlers that decide the outcome, as South Africa eye a first Test series victory at home to Australia since 1969-70.

He told Omnisport: "It will be a tough series. I think it could come down to the pace attacks, both batting line-ups are brittle.

"Obviously they have [AB] de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Du Plessis in there to bring strength, but I expect it will be the bowling units that dictate how the series goes.

"Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn - when fit - [Morne] Morkel, [Vernon] Philander and [Lungi] Ngidi will provide a great test for the Australia batsmen and if our bowlers bowl as they can it will be tough for the South African players.

"It is going to be a huge series, Australia pride themselves on winning away from home, they had success there last time and hopefully they can do it again, but it will take a lot of good cricket and it will be bloody good to watch.

"With Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc and the five South Africa quicks they have - that is a bloody good attack.

"Philander bats at eight these days, so he's gone into the all-rounder role. They can play four quicks and a spinner. The positive thing for Australia is they are very similar conditions to what we get at home.

"The pace and bounce doesn't necessarily bother them, conditions are not so foreign."

The opening Test gets under way in Durban on Thursday.