Hogg likely to get the nod ahead of Tait in Boxing Day Test

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Melbourne, Dec 24 (UNI) The Men in Blue may be spared from facing the thunderous pace of Shaun Tait after Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting and his deputy Adam Gilchrist came out in support of left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg.

''My basic philosophy is that it's always nice to have a spinner in your side because a lot of Test matches go late into the fourth and fifth days, when spinners really come into their own,'' Ponting said.

Gilchrist endorsed the views of his skipper.''We've got a world-class spin bowler in Brad Hogg,'' he said. ''He's proven that in one-day cricket.'' ''He's now very excited about the opportunity to try to prove he deserves to play Test cricket.

''It depends on the conditions but, as a general rule, I've always thought a spin bowler in a Test team is very well-balanced as an option.'' The Australian selectors have their task cut out after torrential rain for the past few days forced ground staff to keep the covers on, interrupting the pitch preparations.

''The important thing in this selection will be trying to sum up the conditions as best we can,'' Ponting said.

''Do we try to blast them (India) out with pace and a little bit of reverse swing, or is it better to use a spinner later in the game when the wicket might wear.'' ''Captains of the state sides have been pretty negative towards the MCG wicket,'' he stated. ''It's been too flat and too easy to bat on.

It's too hard to get people out.

''We're going to have to have a real good look at the conditions and, if they look that way, then we have tough decisions.'' Left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson, who consistently claimed top-order wickets during the recent ODI series in India, is likely to get the nod ahead of Shaun Tait.


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