Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide January 23, 2012

Clarke flags reversal of method


As India seek a reversal of fortune in the final Test of the summer at the Adelaide Oval, Michael Clarke's Australia have prepared for a reversal of method in their pursuit of a 4-0 series sweep over the visitors.

Reverse swing has been seldom glimpsed all summer on a succession of well-grassed pitches that allowed Australia's fast men to gain conventional movement through the air and off the track for most of each match. However in Adelaide, beyond the rewards to be gained in the first hour or so of play, Clarke expects a return to the subtle art of swinging the old ball, in the absence of any other assistance on what appears a typically hard, dry surface.

While India will appreciate the chance to revert to some of the skills that have served the visitors faithfully on home turf for many years, Australia are also happy to be reminded of the need for such measures - their next Test matches are in the West Indies, on pitches likely to be slower and lower than anything seen at home in this series.

"I think reverse swing will play a huge part in this Test, it always does," Clarke said. "The ground is in great nick, so the outfield will keep the ball newer than I have seen it in the past but I think as the day goes on, especially in this heat, you will see a lot of reverse swing.

"And that is why I say it's probably as close to Indian conditions as you're going to get in Australia. So as a batting unit, we have been working on that in the nets, we have faced a bit of reverse swing and a fair bit of spin, so I think our preparation has been spot on."

In recalling Nathan Lyon at the expense of the young left-armer Mitchell Starc, Clarke kept the experienced pace trio of Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris in harness, judging all had recovered sufficiently from their Perth exertions for the possible rigours of a match that invariably sees a fifth day.

All had questions of sorts to answer in the lead-up: Harris has struggled wit the physical demands of consecutive Tests, Siddle showed signs of exhaustion in Perth, and Hilfenhaus has seldom proven to be at his best in Adelaide, where the new ball movement of his stock delivery can be more fleeting than elsewhere. However Clarke pointed out that Hilfenhaus had an even more modest record in Melbourne before he scooped seven wickets for the match in a 122-run victory.

"I'll bet you it's better than his record at the MCG, where he had a horrible record, and we picked him there and he got five-for [in the first innings]," Clarke said. "I'm really confident Hilfy's at the top of his game, bowling really well and can adjust to whatever conditions he faces. He's a very good bowler with the new ball but he's also very good at bowling straight if the wicket is slow and low, and he's got great control with reverse swing as well. He'll play a big part in this Test.

"Generally the Test match on the Adelaide Oval does go five days. So we have to have the discipline to hang in there until you get the opportunity to grab hold of some momentum. The boys are flying high on confidence but it's going to be a tough challenge. I'm certain India will be very keen to finish the series on a high. It's a great test for us as a team in what are going to be tough conditions to take 20 wickets."

Well as Australia have played at home this summer, it is a fact that the majority of conditions Clarke and his team will face overseas in years to come will be closer in character to Adelaide than elsewhere. Gautam Gambhir's talk about the preparation of "rank turners" were striking, but nothing new. To that end, the bowling coach Craig McDermott and his pace battery will, alongside Nathan Lyon, find out more about their prospects for future tours in this match than the preceding three.

"The pitches have been the same in Australia for the last two years, I think they were exactly the same against England, they were pretty similar in South Africa as well," Clarke said. "That is part of being an international sportsman, you travel the world and play in completely different conditions.

"I have played a number of times in India when the ball has spun so that will be no different next time we go there I'm sure. In my opinion, it's very hard to doctor the wicket when you're playing against very good opposition. It's about preparing a pitch and then both teams playing on it so that will be no different when we go to India and I think it has been the same in Australia for a while now, the last couple of years I have seen a little bit more grass on the pitches."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gez on January 24, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    @kunal keveesh joshi - australian "paper tigers?" wow, just wow... i don't recall australia ever being 3-0 down after 2 innings losses and looking down the barrel of 4-0 after day 1 of the 4th test.... lol... i see england and pakistan fans engaging in good intelligent discussion, but indians seem to be in a class of their own here on cricinfo. complete denial. india, the paper tigers of world cricket.

  • Owais on January 24, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    @Kunal Kaveesh - common man, I see your point, but Aussies are no paper tigers. Similarly by defeating England in Dubai, Pakistan fans cannot claim that English players are paper tigers or "green top wicket bullies". Fact is that Aussies played good hard cricket and the Indians batting trios, still very very good, but not good enough anymore to cope with bounce and seam. You need to find guys who could do this, just like Pakistanis need to ! And in order for this happen SubContinental countries have to start preparing a few bouncy, seaming wickets as well.

  • Nathan on January 23, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    @Kunal Kaveesh Joshi - say what you want and prepare whatever pitches you want, I can guarantee Australia wouldn't lose 7, going on 8, straight tests in a row. This is the problem with indian cricket - when Aus got smashed last summer they did some analysis to address the causes of their poor form and seem to be on the way up again already. Whereas india just want to bury their head in the sand and pretend they're a great side that was undone by unplayable pitches. Melbourne and Sydney were decent cricket pitches, and Perth was as it usually is - the squeals of 'doctoring' from the people who have been doing exactly that for as long as I've followed cricket, the hypocrisy is hilarious! india doctored pitches in 2004 and still lost, given their performances here I don't know how the fans can be so sure they'd beat Aus on any pitch. @Rajesh Saxena - if you think Clarke's comments are 'creating a devil off the pitch' to 'play on the minds', you must be extremely weak minded ...

  • Nishan on January 23, 2012, 21:47 GMT

    @ Kunal Kaveesh Joshi...u have to accept this fact mate that india is no match for australia whether in home or least australia did not lose 3-0 in that series. haha and australia didnt even bowl out twice in less than 3 days...haha get that mate..everybody is good in their home conditions but australia as u can see is not only good in home conditions but elsewhere.u saw england lose to pakistan in dubai...i think u got what i mean mate.

  • Ed on January 23, 2012, 21:37 GMT

    Glad to hear Haddin is retiring and making way for new blood. Great news.

  • Sajjad on January 23, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    india will lose in 4th test also....its not pitches.....they have lost their forms...their time is up....time for new players.....

  • Patrick on January 23, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    The Indian batsmen have been undone by the Australian bowling attack, even Sehwag has admitted that. All this moaning about the pitches is pathetic. Not as bad mind you as the 'wait till we get home' carry on, it's petty and unsportsmanlike. At least they got off the bus this time.

  • Srinivas on January 23, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    Wow really? Gambhir's call for rank turners is striking but nothing new? I would say Austalian, English and Proteas call for grassbowls is neither striking nor new. Double standards and hypocrisy! Wonder when the former rulers of the game will let go off their itch to tell the world what is and what isn't a proper cricket pitch! India will prepare rank turners. Make no mistake about it. Home advantage. And why don't you guys prepare spinning tracks in your countries Sirs? Why tell us what is a proper track? Crib as you like. Different tracks will throw different challenges Sir. Pace friendly and Spin friendly - Shame that pace friendly is used interchangeably with bowler friendly track and spin friendly is used interchangeably with flat or batting paradise etc. If so, then bat and succeed Sirs. Why worry at the thought of rank turners? I see Hussey, Clarke and Ponting to succeed on rank turners. Don't know about others. Trott, KP, Bell and Cook from England; Kallis and Amla from SA.

  • Mallik on January 23, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    '...of a match that invariably sees a fifth day'. Ha ha, yet one more record to write. Common India.

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Difficult decision at the toss - to bat or bowl first. I think, the Indian team is very much dependent on the top order and it would be good for India to bowl first. The pitch would suit India batting more as the test progresses since they are used to batting on dry pitches .....In bowling, India could try out-swingers of Mithun in place of in-swingers of Ishant and still go with a 3 pace - 1 spin attack. Australia would definitely insert India in if they win the toss....

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