Injured Pattinson out of series
Australia's young fast-bowling spearhead James Pattinson is out of the remainder of the Test series against India after scans revealed the early signs of stress fractures in the metatarsal bone of his left foot.
He has been replaced in the squad for the Perth Test by Mitchell Starc - the only change to the squad that was selected for Sydney. Ryan Harris is favoured to win a recall to the XI after making his own return to fitness.
Pattinson bowled throughout the Sydney Test but complained of pain in his left foot towards the end of the match. Scans revealed the injury, which the team physio Alex Kountouris called an "early stage bone stress injury of the metatarsal bone of the left foot".
"He will be managed carefully over the next few weeks and will not be available for the remainder of the Test series," Kountouris said.
John Inverarity, the national selector, said his panel had already considered resting Pattinson for the WACA Test after he played four Tests in little more than a month since his debut against New Zealand in Brisbane.
"The intention of the National Selection Panel was to rest James from the Perth Test match as this young man has played in four Test matches over a period of just five weeks," Inverarity said. "This intention has become a necessity after post-match scans have revealed James' foot injury."
Pattinson's injury is a serious blow to Australia, given that in those four Tests he has taken 25 wickets at 18.12, while also impressing considerably with the bat. It also continues an unsettling run of injuries for young fast bowlers. Pat Cummins, who made an equally remarkable introduction against South Africa in Johannesburg in November, is missing the entirety of the home Test summer due to a heel injury.
At the other end of the age scale is Harris, who would now appear certain to return to the XI for the Perth Test, after battling a hip problem and then building up his fitness for Test cricket with an intensive training regimen through December.
Before Pattinson's injury was known, Clarke said Harris' recall as part of a pace quartet was a genuine option - he had also flirted with the idea before the Sydney match.
"It is an option, there will certainly be at least four fast bowlers in our squad for Perth, and we'll assess conditions once we get there," Clarke said. "I'm hoping that wicket is similar to what we played on against England last summer, where it's got a lot of pace and bounce and some sideways movement. If that's the case there's an option there [to play four quicks], but I always love to have a spinner in the team, and I continue to say that I think Nathan Lyon is doing a really good job for this team."
Clarke's run as captain has been made far more agreeable by the presence of an effective pace attack, and he said the group's collective ability to place pressure on India's batsmen had been significant to the results so far.
"We have [several] guys who can get a breakthrough, that's one of the most pleasing things for a captain," he said. "You can turn to any one of our bowlers to try and take a wicket, so that makes life easier for me. We're able to build up pressure - at the moment, we're bowling a lot of dot balls, bowling a lot of maidens, we're restricting the scoring and I think that is what's getting us wickets.
"It's not necessarily a one-off delivery that is getting somebody out. Against very good players you have to be able to build up pressure - if you think one-off balls are going to get six or seven of the best batsmen in the world out, you're in for a rude shock. So you need the whole team and the whole bowling attack performing, and that's what we're doing at the moment."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo