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Australia prepares 'pacy welcome' for India

Sydney, Nov 28 (UNI) Auatralia is all set to unleash 'pace' as their main weapon against India in the upcoming Test series, with the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch indicating a 'four-man' pace attack for the Boxing Day test at Melbourne.

A day after leg-spinner Stuart MacGill's intention to undergo a career-saving knee surgery, which will rule him out from the home series against India, made the headlines, the chief selector stated that though Brad Hogg is the likely option to replace MacGill, using four specialist quicks could not be ruled out alongwith with part-time spin option in Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke.

''We made it pretty clear before first Test selection that we consider our best balance will contain a spinner but there are going to be various conditions where a four-pronged pace attack will not be ruled out,'' Hilditch was qouted as saying in 'The Age'.

''It will all come down to the conditions at that particular time, and where we are playing,'' he added.

Interestingly, Hilditch's intention to opt for an outright pace attack might have been influenced by the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) official's decision to use a drop-in pitch for the opening Test.

However, if the Kangaroos' decide to play four seamers then the experienced Indian batting line-up might have to counter the raw pace of Shaun Tait, who has not played for his national side since his breakthrough World Cup campaign in April due to an elbow injury.

Speedster Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clarke would be Australia's frontline seamers in the Test series.

Howver, 24-year-old Tasmanian, Ben Hilfenhaus and Queenslander Ashley Noffke might give Tait a run for his money as they are also in calculations for the fourth seamer's place. But Tait said he was pushing speeds of 150 km/h before his recent setback last month and his elbow would not come into the way of his pace, which according to him provides him an edge over his competitors.

''It is pain-free at the moment, which is the first time in over a year. It's brilliant. It's just getting my body back to match fitness, basically,'' he said.

''They (the selectors) might do something like that (play four quicks), and that would work in my favour if I am performing at the time.

''Ben Hilfenhaus is around the place and Ashley Noffke is dominating at the moment, so it's not going to be that easy, but if I can come back and bowl full pace again and take wickets, there is no reason why I can't be a chance to get picked again,'' he added.


Story first published: Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 16:03 [IST]
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