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Four quicks & chin music

Chris Rogers stands a chance to make it to the Australia XI for the third Test if Matthew Hayden doesn’t recover from a hamstring injury, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Jan 12, 2008 02:04 IST

Chris Rogers is an unknown entity in international cricket but stands a chance to make it to the Australia XI for the third Test if Matthew Hayden doesn’t recover from a hamstring injury, which till Friday had made him a doubtful starter.

Call it playing mindgames or speaking plain and simple truth, the Western Australia opener unveiled a warning for the Indians by saying that the pitch at his hometown in Perth will not be to the liking of the visitors who must win the third Test to stay in the series.

“The curator prefers keeping his cards close to his chest, but I think the pitch will have a lot of bounce and carry. It will see a departure from the recent past when the strip didn’t encourage the fast bowlers. It is likely to be like what it used to be in the 80s and the 90s,” said the left-handed opener who scored a dogged 60 for the ACT Invitational XI against India on Friday.

Traditionally a fast bowler’s paradise, the Perth wicket had changed character and in December 2005, South Africa had forced an unlikely draw there by surviving the final day with Neil McKenzee scoring a hundred.

Rogers revealed that things have changed drastically since.

“My last match there was just before Christmas.

“It didn’t have the ‘trampoline’ bounce, but with some rain before the match, it was a nightmarish experience for an opener. And the curator there likes to keep some moisture in the wicket which makes it even tougher for the batsmen.”

The 31-year-old who scored a double century against Australia while playing for Leicestershire in 2005 said he expected the home team to go ahead with four fast bowlers. “Although I would love to see Hoggie (Brad Hogg) in the side, I think playing four quicks would be the right ploy.”

Asked to assess the Indian fast bowlers on the basis of their performance in this three-day game, Rogers praised Irfan Pathan for his ability to swing the ball and also felt that the “other tall bowlers should be effective if they used their height” and got the length right.

“The Freemantle Doctor (the wind that blows across the WACA ground) will also come into play and it will all depend on how the bowler bowling into the wind handles it. I don’t think the match will go five days.”

Quiet birthday for Dravid

Rahul Dravid turned 35 on Friday and in a quiet celebration, the team cut a cake in the dressing room after the day’s play. There were no other celebrations and according to the team’s media manager, M.V. Sridhar, the former captain wanted it to be that way.