x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Australia captain may break rule to trouble India on pacey Sydney track

Michael Clarke does not prefer to bowl first but the nature of the pitch is prompting both captains to consider an all-out pace attack.

Indian captain MS Dhoni is also thinking long term on his career future.
Indian captain MS Dhoni is also thinking long term on his career future.

PERTH // Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, 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 this 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.

His counterpart, MS Dhoni, said: "A lot depends on how it looks before the start of the game. It will affect us to some extent, especially in the bowling department.

"We have to see how much grass is taken off and how much rolling is done and how hard the wicket is.

"We have to see whether the spinner will get some kind of assistance or not," he said. If it does not, Ravichandra Ashwin will have to miss out although the spinner has done decently well with the bat, considering the more experienced top order batsmen have failed.

Down 2-0 in the series, the pressure has led to speculation that all is not well within the team. Rahul Dravid denied it yesterday, but Dhoni had to stress it again even though he did indicate he was not happy with the way Ishant Sharma - and Virat Kohli before him - had gone about reacting to fans' behaviour on the tour.

"I have never seen the Indian team fight," he said. "And this is one thing we are really proud of.

"Our real strength is that we love each other and enjoy each other's successes. I am really proud of our dressing room atmosphere."

"You die, you die, you don't see as to which is the better way to die," he said.

"There's somebody who starts something and more often than not it's the retaliator that gets stuck and always gets punished," said Dhoni.

"It happens in cricket also. So I think we need to get smart as to what needs to be done.

"We want to get back in the series, in England we weren't really there and we didn't perform to the potential we have.

"We have learnt a lot from that series and have learnt a lot from this series also.

"There are two Test matches to go, so we are hoping for the best."

Dhoni also said he is considering giving up one format of the game in 2013 to be able to play in the 2015 World Cup.

"Of course form is a big factor but also, what I need to see is, if I play till 2014 and all of a sudden say I can't survive till the World Cup, then all of a sudden you have a new keeper coming in who has not played more than 30 international games.

"So by end of 2013 I need to decide, okay I'm fit enough to proceed in one of the formats.

"What I want is an individual who, if he is taking my place, should have played at least 60 to 100 ODIs before he goes into the World Cup.

"It's what my personal thinking is. We will accordingly see where it is. There's lots of time before that."