Millennium Post

India aim for the kill

It will be advantage India against a depleted Australia side in the third Test match that begins Thursday at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium here.

With only 12 players to pick a team from, Australia are under huge pressure. The onus of ending their two-match losing streak looms large under the backdrop of the suspension of its four players Monday due to breach of discipline.

The Australia team management Monday suspended four of its players including vice-captain Shane Watson for not doing a homework. Along with Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson were suspended for the Test.

With Australia trailing 0-2 in the series, all the players were given five days to prepare a feedback on how they could improve. But the four players failed to meet the deadline, and paid the price.

While Watson and Pattinson would have been automatic choices, Khawaja and Johnson also had a strong chance.

The inexperienced Australia batting line-up will have a tough time against the Indian spinners. However, the good news for them is that skipper Michael Clarke is in form. Clarke has scored one century and two half-centuries in the four innings he has played so far.

Clarke has a tricky situation at hand to select his team from a bunch of inexperienced players. However, the arrival of Brad Haddin, as a cover for injured Matthew Wade, brings in some experience in the side.

Wade, who bruised his ankle during a basketball game here, is yet to pass the fitness test and if he does, Clarke may even think of playing Haddin as a specialist batsman replacing an out-of-form Phil Hughes.

It is also to be seen where Clarke comes out to bat since he had already announced following the innings loss in Hyderabad that he would prefer to bat higher than No.5.

The absence of Pattinson and Johnson will be a big blow for Australia on a track that offers some bounce for fast bowlers.
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