Sydney - Ageing Australian batsman Ricky Ponting says he's put himself through a gruelling training regime to be ready to face South Africa, admitting they have the best fast-bowling attack around.
The 37-year-old, who was dumped from the one-day and Twenty20 international squads, has not played a Test since the West Indies last April and said he went months without picking up a bat.
"I gave my body and mind a bit of a rest because I bashed myself up pretty much during the summer last year," he told reporters on Thursday, a day after smashing seven sixes in an unbeaten 85 for Tasmania against South Australia.
"So after the West Indies I had a couple of months off with nothing and then about 12 weeks where I just trained myself into the ground really, physically.
"I got myself in good physical shape. I'm a few kilos down again at the start of the season and feeling really good and feel like I'm moving really good."
He is preparing for the three Test series against South Africa, which gets underway in Brisbane on November 9 before three Tests with Sri Lanka, also at home.
The former skipper could break Steve Waugh's record as Australia's most-capped Test cricketer in the first match of a Sri Lanka series, with his eye on making the 2013 team to tour England.
"They're the number one team in the world and they are that for a reason," Ponting, who has played 165 Tests, said of South Africa.
"They have got probably the best fast bowling attack going around ... they bat really low as well ... they're an exceptionally well-balanced side.
"But saying that, we have had some great contests against them since I have been playing for Australia. They have never really dominated us and the series have been great contests.
"We know that if we do everything as well as we can in Australia this year, they will find it hard to beat us."