Selectors ponder dual spin attack - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Selectors ponder dual spin attack

By Greg Buckle 26/12/2005 06:11:45 AM Comments (0)

The state of the MCG pitch will determine the bowling line-ups for Australia and South Africa in the second Test beginning on Monday.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting and rival skipper Graeme Smith will make final inspections of the drop-in wicket on Monday morning to decide if it looks like providing assistance to spinners.

Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill is up against NSW team-mate Nathan Bracken, a left arm swing bowler, for a place in the Australian side.

MacGill is a proven wicket-taker with 176 scalps at 27.74 in 36 Tests.

"If we go in with two spinners or the three seamers, I'm confident we've got enough firepower there," Ponting said in the wake of criticism that he didn't allow sufficient time to bowl out South Africa in the recent drawn Test in Perth.

South African coach Mickey Arthur admits his side's attack of right-arm seamers lacks variety without a spinner and left-arm slow bowler Nicky Boje is a chance to replace Charl Langeveldt.

"I do like going into a Test match with a spinner. I think it gives you greater options," Arthur said, "But conditions must allow for that."

While final selections will be of interest to the 70,000 fans expected to pack into the new-look stadium, the biggest roars are sure to be for Victorian pair Shane Warne and Brad Hodge in front of their home crowd.

Hodge made his maiden Test century, 203 not out, in last week's Perth match while Warne needs 10 wickets to become the first player to take 100 Test wickets in a calendar year.

Smith will get a hard time from the pro-Warne crowd after saying the former Test vice-captain's constant suggestions and advice for Ponting in the field had made things difficult for the skipper.

"We've certainly noticed the pressure he puts Ricky under out in the field," Smith said.

"Especially when things get tough, he takes over and he puts them under a lot of pressure.

"Because Shane is offering so much advice, it's hard to kind of sift through what is good and what is not good at times."

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