India vs Australia 2013: Lack of options, Australia play all frontline bowlers in Mohali

Brad Haddin will play in his first Test since January last year © Getty Images

Mohali: Mar 14, 2013

Desperate to keep the four-match series alive after two massive losses, Australia on Thursday packed their playing XI for the third Test against India at Mohali with all of their available specialist bowlers.

Even though the first day of the match was washed out due to a heavy downpour, Australia had named their line-up.

The axe fell on all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who had made his debut in the second Test in Hyderabad, where the tourists were inflicted an innings and 135-run defeat. Before that, Australia were beaten by eight wickets in Chennai.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who was dropped for the Hyderabad Test, returned to form the spin combine with slow left-arm bowler Xavier Doherty.

On a track that is likely to assist the slow bowlers, Lyon and Doherty will be supported by Steven Smith, who had started out as a specialist bowler before making his mark with the bat. The 23-year-old from New South Wales, in fact, is slated to bat as high as number five, with skipper Michael Clarke promoting himself to the crucial number three position.

Phil Hughes should thank Australia’s lack of options in the aftermath of the unprecedented sacking of four key players as he managed to retain his place despite failing to score a single run against spinners on the tour so far.

Due to the expulsion of four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, for disciplinary violations and an injury to Matthew Wade, Australia had only 12 men available for the Test, and Maxwell was confirmed as the one who would miss out.

Maxwell was competing with Moises Henriques but the latter, who had made an impressive debut in the series opener, was preferred over the big-hitting all-rounder.

With pacer James Pattinson also being among the four players suspended, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle will shoulder the fast bowling responsibility, supported by Henriques.

According to coach Mickey Arthur, the selectors felt a three-man pace attack with two specialist spinners was the best way to go about for Australia.

“He (Maxwell) did have a good debut. We went with two quicks and Moises, and our two specialist spinners. We need to take 20 wickets to win this Test match so we wanted our specialists out on the park,” Arthur was quoted as saying by the Australian media.

Flown in as cover for the injured Wade, experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin will play in his first Test since January last year. He said it’s an “exciting time” to come in with Australia left with no option but to win the match to stay alive in the series.

Meanwhile, the covers at the PCA Stadium pitch were taken off well past 14.30, by which time the players were back in their team hotel.