INDIA’S thrashing machine Virender Sehwag paid the home side a mighty compliment on Monday, saying this was the best attack he had faced in his 20 Tests against Australia.
Sehwag, who will lead the tourists in the fourth Test starting on Tuesday in Adelaide following skipper MS Dhoni’s suspension for the team’s slow over-rate, is averaging under 20 in three Tests this summer.
And the 95-Test veteran says tight bowling has been the key, preventing the dashing opener from pinning his ears back and bashing the loose ball over cover.
“They are bowling in good areas. They are not giving easy balls to hit boundaries and they are playing with real patience,” said Sehwag, who boasts a career average of 50.93.
“It is the best bowling attack I have ever seen especially against Australia because generally when I have played in the past, I get a couple of balls to hit to the boundary.
“But now, in this attack, I hardly get a ball to hit so I think (it’s) one of the best bowling attacks.”
When Sehwag first started playing against Australia the home side fielded names like Nathan Bracken and Brad Williams.
But a year later in India, Sehwag had to contend with Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, subcontinent workhorse Michael Kasprowicz and champion legspinner Shane Warne.
However, the efforts of pacemen Ben Hilfenhaus (23 wickets at 16.00), Peter Siddle (17 at 19.58) and James Pattinson (11 at 23.36) in the current series has left Sehwag struggling to perform his familiar big-hitting tricks.
And Australia skipper Michael Clarke says he’s banking on his quicks to continue the job in Adelaide.
Young quick Mitchell Starc was handed the role of drinks waiter.
Offspinner Nathan Lyon returns to the 11 alongside Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris, who took match figures of 2-67 from 34 tight overs in Perth.
Clarke, whose men hold a 3-0 advantage in the four-match series, says he’s determined to lift his fourth-placed side back to the top ranking.
The skipper and his co-selectors brushed aside the new Cricket Australia policy announced two weeks ago to rotate hard-working pace bowlers which in this case would have meant either Siddle or Hilfenhaus being rested.
“It was about picking the best eleven to win the Test,” Clarke said.
“I have said that from the start, that we want to win every Test match that we play and this series is no different.
“I guess winning the last two Test matches in less than five days has helped everyone recover so all the guys are fighting fit and ready to go.”
While Lyon can expect to get plenty of work in his 10th Test and first at his home ground, Clarke says the former Adelaide Oval groundsman shouldn’t be seen as Australia’s saviour.
Clarke says reverse swing will be a major factor with Hilfenhaus set to lead the way as variable bounce comes into play late in the game.
“We know these conditions are probably going to suit India a lot more than where we have come from in Perth so we are going to have to be at our best to beat them,” Clarke said.
“I definitely have a lot of confidence in ‘Lyno’. I would hate to put that sort of expectation on him.”
Sehwag said the tourists were considering playing two spinners, Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. – AAP
Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc (12th man).
India: Virender Sehwag (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravi Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha (12th man yet to be named).