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India, Australia to finalise teams at last minute

Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble insist that their respective teams will be chosen on the day of the Adelaide test.

cricket Updated: Jan 23, 2008 10:49 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his India counterpart Anil Kumble said they would not finalise their teams for the fourth and final Test until just before the match starts Thursday.

Up 2-1, the Australians are looking to win in Adelaide to clinch the series, while the tourists are confident of squaring the series after their shock win of the third Test in Perth.

The Indians are considering taking five specialist bowlers into the match, with spinner Harbhajan Singh expected to replace struggling opener Wasim Jaffer and form a dual spin attack with Kumble.

Kumble was playing his cards close to his chest here Wednesday and said a final decision on selection would be made just minutes before the match.

"There are a few possibilities but we would like to take another look at the pitch.

"It (five bowlers) is an option and that is something we will definitely assess."

Kumble said India took great confidence from their last Test in Adelaide, which they won by four wickets in 2003.

With the pitch expected to take turn as the match progresses, Australia had been expected to recall veteran spinner Brad Hogg to replace local pace bowler Shaun Tait.

However, after misreading the pitch in Perth and erroneously opting for a pace quartet in a selection decision that backfired, Ponting too wants a last look at the Adelaide Oval wicket before settling on the final team.

"We haven't finalised our team yet, we'll sleep on it and make the announcement at the toss tomorrow morning," he said.

"We've got a few things we want to run through our heads about our make up and about that wicket.

"The wicket is normally pretty good to bat on here, it looks like it will be that way, but it's actually quite dry at the moment," he said.

"We've just got to toss up in our head whether a spin option is the way to go or if we try and use pace with variable bounce later in the game."

Tait failed to take a wicket in Perth and bowled just 21 overs for the match, while Hogg took just six wickets at 51.50 in the first two Tests.

Ponting said the fact it was his home ground could work in Tait's favour.

"It probably does because he's taken wickets for South Australia here over a long period of time now, whether it be early in the game with the new ball or late in the game when it does start keeping a little bit low," he said.

"His style of bowling is obviously suited to these conditions," he said.

"When you've got a wicket taker like that in the wings it gives you lots of options, but it makes your decision pretty difficult as well."

Ponting noted that the Australian philosophy was to play a specialist spinner, a theory abandoned in the third Test for the first time since 1992.

He said Hogg was more than able if recalled.

"If he does come in, it's obviously pretty important that he's not feeling under too much pressure, we all know it's very hard to perform when you feel your spot is on the line," he said.

"Missing the Test match last week was just because of what we thought the wicket was going to be like .... we just thought four fast bowlers over there were going to do a better job for us than a spinner would have.

"I think Hoggy did a good job for us in Melbourne and Sydney and if he comes back here and gets some conditions that are going to suit him a little bit then I'm sure he'll do a good job again," Ponting said.

"He's our best spin bowler in Australia at the moment and when opportunities for him to play a bit of Test cricket over the next couple of years hopefully he will get the job done."