Langer defends Aussie approach

Australian opener Justin Langer believes that any tension between the locals and the touring South Africans is only to be expected as players from both sides rise to a challenge.

"I think these are the series you want to see as a player, these are the series I want to play in," the left-hander said as he prepared to rejoin the Australian side for the third 3 Mobile Test in Sydney after being sidelined for the second Test win with a hamstring injury.

"It's tense and that's the way it should be," he added.

After missing the heat of the battle in the middle of the Melbourne Cricket Ground between Christmas and New Year, Langer was given as good a workout by the media as he would have had from team physiotherapist Errol Alcott in proving his fitness to return to partner Matthew Hayden at the top of the innings in Sydney.
When the question of an alleged racist remark by Shane Warne was raised, Langer jumped to his teammate's defence.

Warne allegedly said 'get this John Blackman out' when Ntini, who had sustained a knee injury late on day three of the Melbourne Test, was batting on the final day.

The champion spinner's reference to well-known voice-over artist John Blackman and his schoolboy character Dicky Knee, featured on long-running Channel Nine television show Hey, Hey, It's Saturday, was lost on the tourists.

"I haven't spoken to Warnie about it, but you don't have to be remorseful about something that is innocent I don't think, do you?"

He was adamant that there would not have been any intentional racist overtones.

"The word racist is, to me, a filthy word, and I don't know a racist in the Australian team," the West Australian stated.

He also defended the Australians, particularly Warne, over suggestions that they appeal excessively.

"It's more a nature of the situation rather than over-appealing," he explained.

"He (Warne) thinks it out and he gives it a big appeal. To me that's just part of the game, part of the great theatre of the great Shane Warne," Langer added.

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