Australia name unchanged squad for fourth Test

Perth: Australia are considering sticking with their four-man pace attack in the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG in Melbourne, after naming an unchanged squad for the match.

The Australians plumped for four quicks in the 267-run third Test win over England at the WACA Ground, and stuck with the same 12 for Melbourne, retaining spinner Michael Beer in the squad.

Although Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus took just one wicket each in Perth, with Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris claiming nine apiece, Australian captain Ricky Ponting said the combination worked very well and the quicks complemented each other perfectly.

“They worked beautifully together this week and there will be a bit of debate over the next few days about the right attack for Melbourne,” Ponting said.

“As for every game, we need to pick our best four bowlers for the conditions.

“We are going to have a vastly different wicket in Melbourne to what we have had here.

“The four guys here certainly worked very well and it is a very nice feeling as a captain to know you have that strikepower in these conditions.”

Johnson, Harris and Siddle all said the ability to bowl shorter spells benefited their performances in the third Test.

Ponting, who is believed to have wanted Beer in the side for the third Test, said the left-arm spinner, who played in Victoria until this season and will make his Test debut if picked, was ready to play if needed.

As in the third Test, Ponting said the pitch conditions would be the decider.

“He was picked because he was the best spinner, in Australia at the time,” Ponting said.

“He’ll know those conditions well, he’s grown up in Melbourne his whole life, so he’ll know those conditions down there.

“Whether he plays or not will depend on what the wicket looks like a couple of days before.”

The Australian selectors kept faith with recalled pair Phil Hughes and Steven Smith, although both failed with the bat in Perth.

Ponting will be replaced in the squad if he does not recover from a fractured little finger on his left hand, but expects to play, declaring “I’ll be right”.

Squad: Ricky Ponting (capt), Shane Watson, Phil Hughes, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle, Michael Beer.

Bureau Report

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