Australia captain Michael Clarke is looking for more of the same from his team after naming an unchanged line-up to that which beat India by 122 runs in Melbourne last week for the second Test.
After a season which has featured some peaks and a few deep troughs for Australia, Clarke sees the second of the four Tests, which starts at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Tuesday, as an important measure of the team’s battle to improve its consistency.
“We’ve played some really positive cricket at times and some cricket we’d like to forget,” Clarke told a news conference at the SCG on Monday.
“I guess this is another test of our character to be able to back up after such an impressive win in Melbourne. Our preparations have been just as good, which is a big thing for our team.
“Improving our consistency is making sure we’re doing the hard work, whether we’re having success on the field or not.
“Now it’s about the same commitment, the same determination and the same execution as Melbourne to beat this Indian team.”
Fast bowler Ryan Harris had been drafted into a 12-man squad for the second Test but was left out in favour of spinner Nathan Lyon.
“Tough to leave Ryan out but we’ve stuck with the winning team from Melbourne,” Clarke added. “The way we performed in Melbourne, it’s tough to change that team.”
One of the highlights of the Melbourne Test was the way the bowling attack of Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus unsettled the much-vaunted Indian batsmen, bowling them out cheaply on the fourth day to secure victory.
Pattinson, 21, has been the subject of much attention after claiming five-wicket hauls in his first two Tests against New Zealand and clinching the Man of the Match award in his third against India last week.
Clarke, though, was keen to emphasise the team aspect of the fast bowling unit.
“Patto is just starting, he’s a wonderful talent don’t get me wrong but I’d hate to see us put extra pressure on him,” said Clarke.
“He’s got a good crew around him as well ... I think we’re building a good crew of fast bowlers and they are all just as vital as each other, I don’t think there’s one that is above the rest.
“They’re all very talented and we need every single one of them to continue to perform if we’re to go forward in test cricket.”
Spin-bowling has traditionally been a major factor in five-day matches at the SCG and Clarke said he thought that would also be the case for the 100th Test at the famous arena, if the sunshine that bathed the oval on Monday stuck around throughout the encounter.
With “a little bit of green” on the wicket, though, Clarke predicted that batting might be difficult on the first day or two.
While hoping that India’s Sachin Tendulkar would be left waiting for his 100th international century until after the series was over so he could watch it on television, Clarke did not think it was a factor in the match.
“You have to try and get him out early, though, because if you don’t, he’s very destructive as we’ve seen over a long period of time,” he said.
Team - Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon