Hogg has to wait till 26th morning, says Ponting

Published: Friday, December 21, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: The fate of left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg hangs in the balance with Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting saying that the decision whether to go for a four-man pace attack or play an extra spinner would be decided after the inspection of the MCG pitch.

''The wicket conditions, that will be the biggest thing,'' Ponting said.

''Are you going to have most impact with the ball through express pace, with Lee, (Mitchell) Johnson and Tait with the ball maybe reserve swinging late in the game, or is it going to be day four and day five with that specialist spinner there?''

Ponting said if the pitch is dry, Hodge may find a place in the playing IX. ''If it is dry, then it might spin a little bit. They are the things we have to try and work out.'' ''If we get down there and it looks like it has not got much grass on it and is going to be pretty dead, that is when the selection is going to be really tough because you have to look at it each way.

''I think generally it takes teams a little while when they get to Australia when they either start in Brisbane or in Perth,'' he added.

''The Melbourne wicket, from what I can gather over the last few weeks, has been very, very flat. But hopefully the wicket down there for the Test match will have a bit more on offer for the bowlers, a bit more pace and bounce, hopefully.

''If that is the case and India don't get on (in the tour game), they might find themselves a bit underdone,'' Ponting said.

The Men in Blue, who arrived in Australia earlier this week, are facing an acute shortage of practice. They could only play 48 overs in two days against Victoria in their only tour game before the first Test, with more rain predicted during the next couple of days.

In contrast, the Aussies are on a high with their batsmen and bowlers coming good in the three-match ODI series against New Zealand which the Aussies winning 2-0 with the third ODI being washed out.

''Looking at Boxing Day, I think most of our guys have had really good hit-out in this series,'' Ponting said.

''For me to spend some time in the middle; (Shaun) Tait has got some good overs under his belt; Brett (Lee) has looked good again; (Andrew) Symonds got some time in the middle -- it has all worked out pretty well for us, to tell you the truth.'' India commence their tour Down Under with the first Test starting in Melbourne on December 26.


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