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Aussies reshuffle pack; Clarke set to bat at number 3

india Updated: Mar 15, 2013 02:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Australia skipper Michael Clarke gave another example that he was not too weighed down by the controversies of the week, naming the playing eleven for the Mohali Test on Thursday.

With no play possible due to rain, Australia could have waited to name the side, although the visitors had only 13 players to choose from after four players were suspended for the third Test for indiscipline.

But the eleven put out has four changes from the team fielded for the second Test in Hyderabad, which Australia lost by an innings to trail 0-2 in the series.

The most significant indication was that Clarke would bat at no 3, promoting himself two spots, finally responding to the suggestion by experts to hold the fragile batting together.

If he does that, the out-of-form Phil Hughes, a big failure against spin, will be pushed down one spot to no 4.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin makes a comeback, Matthew Wade having replaced him over a year ago. Wade has failed to recover from an ankle injury suffered playing basketball.

Haddin has been slotted to bat at six. Steven Smith, a batsman who bowls leg spin, was also fortunate to be recalled, taking the spot of the suspended Shane Watson.

Smith, who played the last of his five Tests in January 2011, is expected to be asked to bat at five.

In a bid to boost the spin attack, off-spinner Nathan Lyon has been recalled after his controversial omission for the Hyderabad Test to team up with left-arm Xavier Doherty.

All-rounder Glen Maxwell, who took four wickets on debut bowling off-spin, was omitted. Mitchell Starc replaced Pattinson.

Australia can change the combination until before the toss, but will be reluctant to do that unless absolutely essential as it can only pile on more misery in the camp.