ADELAIDE, (Reuters) :Australia have left paceman Mitchell Starc out of their team to face India in the fourth and final test and brought spinner Nathan Lyon back into the side, captain Michael Clarke said on Monday.
Starc was one of a quartet of quicks selected for the third test in Perth, where the Australians won by an innings and 37 runs in two and a half days to take a 3-0 lead in the series.
Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris, all more experienced quick bowlers than 21-year-old Starc, have kept their places in an otherwise unchanged side for the match, which starts on Tuesday.
Clarke said he expected conditions at the Adelaide Oval to be more conducive to batting than the lively wicket at the WACA, with spin coming into play later in the test.
Although India’s much vaunted batting line-up has failed to record a century between them in this series, the Australia skipper was not about to underestimate them.
“We know these conditions will suit India better than Perth so we’re to have to be at our best to beat them,” he told a news conference.
“I think reverse swing will play a huge role in this test match... when the heat gets up in the afternoon,” he added. “It’s as close to Indian conditions as you’ll get in Australia.”
Lyon, the latest in a long line of spinners tried out in Australia’s five-year quest to replace Shane Warne, has taken 24 wickets at the cost of 721 runs in his nine tests since his debut against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
Clarke has consistently spoken of his faith in the ability of the 24-year-old off spinner, who a year ago was on the ground staff at the Adelaide Oval.
“I definitely have a lot of confidence in Lyno,” he said. “I hate to put expectation on him, I just want him to perform as he has done for Australia so far. Just because it spins doesn’t mean he’ll take wickets.
“There has been more grass on the wickets this year which has better suited the quicks but I just want him to continue contributing to our success.
“He knows these conditions well and he’s played plenty of cricket down here.”
Australia have won all three tests convincingly inside four days but Clarke said he thought the final test would go the distance.
“Generally, the Adelaide Oval goes five days so it’s about hanging in there and taking advantage of the moments where we can grab the momentum,” he said. “It’s going to be five tough days of test cricket in very difficult conditions to take 20 wickets.”
Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar’s latest attempt to score his 100th international century is much anticipated but Clarke is hoping it will not happen in Adelaide.
“For the team’s sake, I hope Sachin doesn’t make that 100... so we can win the game,” said Clarke. “But when it happens it will be a very special moment, wherever it is in the world.”
Team: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.