Australia go with the quicks

Ricky Ponting's team will have a four pronged pace attack in Perth.

    Shaun Tait has been called in to replace Brad
    Hogg [GALLO/GETTY]
    Australia has named four fast bowlers in its team to meet India on the pace-friendly WACA ground as Ricky Ponting's men aim to become the first team to win 17 consecutive tests.

    Australia favoured the raw pace of Shaun Tait over spinner Brad Hogg for the third test starting Wednesday and will not play a specialist spinner for the first time in a test match since 1992, which was also played in Perth against India.

    Brett Lee will spearhead the bowling attack, which also includes Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson and Tait, who has been recently been recorded sending balls down at a rate of 160 kph.

    Ponting is excited about Australia's options with the new-look bowling attack on a pitch that could rekindle memories of the game's great fast bowling feats.

    "What it does give us, as far as our fast bowling goes, is really good balance and a good mix," Ponting said.

    While the pitch already has a reputation for being the favourite of quick bowlers the surface appears to be the quickest the Western Australian venue has produced in over two decades.

    "We picked the four fast bowlers because we think they will be suited to these conditions," Ponting added.

    Standing in the way of a record 17th straight test win is the much vaunted Indian batting lineup, that has accounted for 40,414 test runs in 551 tests between Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, Virendra Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer and Mahendra Dhoni.

    Chris Rogers: Ready to make his debut on home
    soil [GALLO/GETTY]
    Hayden fails fitness test

    Local favourite Chris Rogers will make his test debut after left-handed opener Matthew Hayden failed a fitness test on a sore right hamstring.

    Hayden had played 86 successive tests since 2000.

    Tait, 24, the youngest member of team, returns to the test side after two matches against England in Australia's 2005 Ashes defeat.

    India, still hurting after losing the bitter second test in Sydney to trail the four-match series 0-2, has recalled opening batsman Sehwag and allrounder Irfan Pathan at the expense of middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh and offspinner Harbhajan Singh.

    India skipper Anil Kumble said his batsmen will not be intimidated by the Australian quicks.

    "We have handled the bowling pretty well in Sydney," said Kumble.

    "Yes, the pitch might be different here, but we have quality and experience to handle that.

    "It is very important that we put runs on the board and I am confident we can do that," he added.

    "It is an adjustment you make in your mind more so than in the middle."

    Tendulkar with 11,532 runs in 144 tests is the only Indian batsman in the current team to have played a test here, when he scored 114 runs in the first innings in 1992.

    Like Ponting, Kumble wants to ensure Perth hosts a good humored game, and is keen to put behind the ill-feeling that threatened to end the Indian tour after Sydney.

    The captain's agreement, whereby the batsman takes the word of the fielder on all low catches, has been dropped and all dubious catches will be referred to the television umpire for the rest of the series.

    "It's best left to the judgment of the match referee and the umpires," Kumble said.

    "The players are under tremendous pressure to perform. It's best that way."


    Australia: Phil Jacques, Chris Rogers, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait.

    India: Wasim Jaffer, Virendra Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Saurav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, R.P Singh, Ishant Sharma.

    Umpires: Billy Bowden, New Zealand, and Asad Rauf, Pakistan.

    Match Referee: Mike Proctor, South Africa.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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