Melbourne: Proteas pace spearhead Makhaya Ntini has said that it"s a war between South Africa and Australia after Boxing Day landed him another couple of wickets.
After dismissing Australian opener Matthew Hayden for the ninth time, Ntini said the Proteas deserved first-day honours in the second Test at the MCG.
“You must understand this is a war between two countries. Every single country wants to win every day," The Age quoted Ntini, as saying.
Ntini"s late wicket of Brad Haddin in the penultimate over of the day turned the tide slightly the tourists" way, as Australia finished 6-280, the paper reported.
The wicket was not only a major breakthrough for his side, but Ntini also drew level with his childhood hero Malcolm Marshall.
In his formative years Ntini, 31, modelled his action on Marshall"s, and he now has as many Test wickets - 376.
“As a bowler if you equal your hero then it makes a huge difference. It shows as a person you are going somewhere. Then who else comes behind you, they have to pass your name so it''s the kind of thing that you have to enjoy," Ntini said.
With Marshall, Ntini is currently equal-12th on the list of all-time wicket-takers, and could become only the second South African to reach the 400-scalp milestone.
Ntini said the tourists had been thrilled to restrict Australia, even though Neil McKenzie"s dropped catch at third slip gave Australian skipper Ricky Ponting a life on 24. Ponting ended up making 101.