Australian selectors are pondering over replacing Mitchell Starc, who went wicket less during the Chennai Test, with experienced Mitchell Johnson in the second Test match against India in Hyderabad, starting on Saturday.
The Australian think-tank is also set to resist any urge to rest James Pattinson in a move that leaves Starc fighting to retain his place in the Test team, News.com.au reports.
Back-up pace man Johnson has entered the frame to replace Starc, and his selection prospects will improve further if the tourists desist from picking a second spinner at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, the paper said.
An early look at the Hyderabad deck this morning suggests it will provide more assistance to the quicks, and it suggests the prospect of Australia deploying four quicks is less risky in Hyderabad than it was in the series opener at MA Chidambaram Stadium, the paper added.
For that reason alone, Pattinson shapes as a guaranteed starter. Mindful of his comeback from a side strain, team hierarchy are carefully monitoring Pattinson's output, although resting the firebrand would be disadvantageous given he was Australia's best bowler with six wickets in the first Test, the paper reported.
Left-arm tweaker Xavier Doherty is a spin option, although Nathan Lyon (4-244) appears safe after claiming the big-name scalps of Indian triumvirate Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Virender Sehwag in Chennai.
That leaves Starc in the firing line, with the rookie left-arm quick going wicket less (0-75) as he struggled to find the right length from 25 overs in the first Test, the paper further said.
The selection door is now ajar for Johnson, a fellow left-armer who lacks the reverse-swing proficiency of Starc but offers the experience of 50 Tests and solid knowledge of Indian conditions, it added.
Johnson has played six Tests in India, taking 21 wickets at 37.24, reasonable figures for a pace man on the sub-continent's spin-friendly decks. (ANI)