Sydney: Australia coach Mickey Arthur has hinted at retaining the same bowling attack for the second Test against India, starting on January 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), almost ruling out that the hosts could go in with four fast bowlers.
Fit-again pacer Ryan Harris, who was selected in the 12-member squad, has little chance of playing in the New Year's Test as Arthur is likely to go ahead with three pacers, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, and lone spinner Nathan Lyon.
The new Cricket Australia administration has vowed to rest fast bowlers to avoid injuries, but Arthur, who is also part of the five-man selection panel, said that with an extra day's rest, there was nothing to fear about.
"It (rotation) is something we'll have to look at. But we've given ourselves an extra day off now, which was unbargained for, and the guys are owning their positions, making it really difficult for guys to get back in, which is a fantastic position to be in," the South African said.
Arthur indicated his strong preference was to play a spinner at the SCG. Australia's 122-run win in the first Test in Melborune was built on the sustained hostility of its pace attack, but off-spinner Lyon held his nerve against India's experienced batsmen and maintained pressure despite getting just one wicket to show for it.
"I have been impressed with Nathan Lyon all the time. He's such a good, bubbly character, and he's a hell of a bowler who will get better and better, so I was certainly not disappointed by any of his stuff," he said.
"I am pretty loathe to go into any Test without a spinner. SCG normally favours spin down the line. Five days is a long time as well. It could be they would try to go after Lyon. But he is a skillful spinner. It would be interesting for if it is typical SCG pitch, he would have to bowl a lot of overs," he said.
"I hope he can tie them down and hopefully strike in the second innings. But for it to happen, we need to have enough runs. Then with Nathan bowling, (it) could become very interesting prospect for us."
Even though conditions are likely to be difficult for batsmen, Arthur showed full confidence in his first six to do the job.
"The six batsmen we have at the moment are the best to do the job. We just need to give them time, especially younger players who are at number one, two and three. [David] Warner is going to be a great player; same with [Shaun] Marsh and Ed [Cowan], (he) gives the stability we were looking for. He brings a certain calmness...we need to give them every opportunity to come through."
"The opening partnership with the bat and the opening partnership with the ball is going to be crucial," added Arthur.
Arthur also praised the two senior batters of the side, Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.
"When the score is 27 for 4, you need Mike Hussey walking to the wicket. At that moment, we needed two experienced heads in the middle. You can't buy experience in a supermarket. I do think the bat camp, or boot camp, offered the best possible Test match preparation. I think we saw the value of it," he said.
"Ricky played really well; Hussey was striking the ball fantastically. I had no doubt he would come to the party. The emphasis mainly is about maintaining performance. Good teams become ruthless. They become consistent."
"Their highs and lows are close. Hobart and Melbourne were apart; we got to bring them closer. Our bad days need to be nearly as good as our good days are, and then we become a very good team," he added.