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Rain forces Aussies to re-think bowling strategy

Published: Sunday, December 23, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
 
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Melbourne: The Men in Blue may have been handed a lifeline by the weather gods with Aussie coach Tim Nielsen saying that incessant rain for the last three days has decreased the possibility of the Aussies opting for an all-pace attack during the Boxing Day Test.

''The fact that it (the wicket) has been under the covers might mean it is a bit moist early and in favour of the quicks but if it hasn't been baked hard (by sunlight) then once the life goes, it often goes pretty flat and pretty slow for the rest of the week," Nielsen said yesterday.

''So I suppose we hope there is a bit of sun on it over the next couple of days so it hardens up and gives the ball a good surface to bounce on,'' he added.

''There is a lot of talk of it being like first-class wickets but until we get to see it, we don't know what we are dealing with.'' The MCG wicket has been under the covers for three days due to which the Aussies have not been able to get a look at it since arriving here earlier this week.

But Nielsen is confident that whatever bowling combination Australia comes up with, they will do well.

''We believe they are each as good as each other and we need to work out which (starting) 11 best suits the conditions.'' Responding to speculation that it may be a toss up between Mitchell Johnson and Brad Hogg, Nielsen replied that, ''"He (Mitchell) has had good success (against India) and he has knocked over their top order consistently in the last couple of years which is something when you sit down and look at the mix (in picking the Test team) that will be taken into account.

''Mitchell's biggest challenge now is not worrying about what he has to do to get back in (the team) but turning up on December 26 as organised and as ready as he can be to take his opportunity.'' India begin their tour Down Under with the first Test starting on December 26 in Melbourne.

UNI

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