Steve Waugh. Picture: REUTERS
Steve Waugh. Picture: REUTERS

Monaco — Steve Waugh believes SA start as slight favourites in the four-Test series against Australia, but warns they will come up against an Australian bowling attack he believes could become one of the great line-ups.

"SA have a great record at home," said Waugh, speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco on Tuesday.

"They’ve just come off a good win over India at home. They know the conditions and the pitches better. They have a great attack and know how to score runs. Australia’s record isn’t that great away from home."

Waugh, who had an excellent win record over SA during his time as player and captain, said it would come down to the strength of the batting on both teams. SA wobbled at times this summer, relying on their bowling attack to see off India.

"It should be a great series. Two of the best bowling attacks in the world. It’s up to the batters. Whichever batting team performs better will win the series. Australia’s attack is a potentially all-time great attack – three quicks and Nathan Lyon, and you’ve got [Pat] Cummins, [Mitchell] Starc and [Josh] Hazelwood, who are as good as any attack right now."

Waugh noted the depth of SA’s bowling resources, describing Lungi Ngidi as "pretty awesome" and Kagiso Rabada as "probably the best young quick in world cricket".

He had words of praise for Morné Morkel, who announced this would be his last series as an international player. "Morkel is one of the most underrated players in world cricket. His retirement is good news for a lot of batsmen. He’s been terrorising batsmen for a long time."