Perth: Jan 12, 2102
Australian captain Michael Clarke says he is considering ignoring two of his own golden rules for the third Test against India at Perth's WACA Ground, starting on Friday.
Both teams are considering playing four fast bowlers in the match, with the WACA pitch still boasting a healthy covering of grass and a distinctive green tinge when Clarke inspected it on Thursday afternoon.
With the luxury of a 2-0 series lead after emphatic wins in Melbourne and Sydney, Clarke said he was considering going for broke against the Indians, not only by using four seamers, but by bowling first if he wins the toss.
"I really find it hard to bowl first if I win the toss no matter what the conditions are like," he said.
"And I find it really hard to leave a spinner out of my team no matter what conditions are like.
"But in saying that you need to do whatever is best to win the game. The conditions are obviously going to suit fast bowling, especially on day one.
"I need to assess conditions and make a couple of very smart decisions."
Like the Indians, Clarke said the home side would not settle on their final 11 until a final look at the pitch on the morning of the match.
He hinted that paceman Ryan Harris was certain to return, to replace the injured James Pattinson, leaving spinner Nathan Lyon and young left-arm quick Mitchell Starc vying for the final spot in the team.
He said the return of Harris, who took nine wickets against England at the venue last summer, would ably compensate for Pattinson's absence with a foot injury.
"I really need to assess the conditions before we make a decision on our 11th player," he said.
"We are without James, but we get Ryan Harris back and he is as good a fast bowler as I have played with and has had a lot of success.
"I'm really confident our attack, whether we go with three or four quicks, can get the job done."
He said any perceived Indian batting frailties, with the tourists yet to notch a century in the series, would not influence selection.
"It's about working out what the best attack is to win the Test match," he said.
"I've seen India be successful against fast bowling and spin bowling, so we won't pick the attack for that, it will be about the conditions."
Clarke said Australia's inexperienced top three was not a concern, although India have identified it as a weakness in the home side.
Ed Cowan has played just two Tests for 92 runs at an average of 30.66, Dave Warner has played only four Tests and has just 50 runs at 16.66 in this series, while Shaun Marsh, with five Tests, has scored three runs in three innings against the Indians.
However, Clarke said all three were ready to produce big scores.
"They are going fine, they would like some more runs but have all had a piece of success in Test cricket," he said.
"Both Davey and Shaun have scored Test match hundreds, and Ed batted beautifully on a seaming wicket in Melbourne.
"They know what it takes to be successful at this level and I'm backing all three of them to have a good Test."(AFP)