Ponting backs young Tait, dilemma continues over spin or pace

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Perth, Jan 21 (UNI) Despite going wicketless in the Perth Test, fast bowler Shaun Tait has received support from his captain as Ricky Ponting admitted his assessment of the WACA pitch went wrong.

Ponting also said Tait is still in with a good chance of making it to the playing XI at Adelaide although the past record suggests that a spinner will be more useful in such conditions.

A lot was said about Tait's pace and the wicket at WACA but Ponting used Tait for only 21 overs in two innings in the third Test, which Australia lost to India by 72 runs.

It was the team's first Test loss since the 2005 Ashes against England.

The Aussie captain dismissed the conventional idea of spin being an essential weapon in Adelaide, despite Shane Warne being Australia's most successful bowler at the venue.

''I'm not sure spin has had as much of an influence as it has done there, in the last few years,'' Ponting said.

''They relaid the wicket there four or five years ago and it holds together a lot better now than it ever did.

''Having said that, South Australia usually play two spinners,'' he added.

Ponting is hopeful that the assessment of the pitch will be accurate this time as he admitted his mistake in reading the WACA wicket against India.

''We all got this one wrong,'' Ponting said referring to the Perth pitch.

''It hasn't been a bad wicket, but it hasn't been what we expected it to be.

''Adelaide is usually pretty predictable. It's usually a good batting wicket for the first few days and then a bit up and down for the last day or so.

He maintained that Tait's ability would be quite useful in Adelaide and the pacer needs to be backed by seniors.

''Tait also has the ability to bowl reverse-swing in Adelaide.

''With his low arm action and the amount of backspin he imparts on the ball, he usually makes it reverse swing more, and earlier, than other bowlers.

''He didn't have the impact I thought he would here (in Perth), but he knows the conditions better than anyone else.

''He's done a great job for South Australia there in recent years,'' he said.

Ponting admitted that Tait did not get enough opportunities in the lost match against India make an impact.

''The whole game hasn't panned out the way we would have liked,'' Ponting rued.

''I haven't been able to use him the way I wanted to.

''In the first innings, we got our ends mixed up, the way the breeze was all over the place on the first morning.

''He didn't come on until late and only bowled a couple of overs before lunch,'' the captain conceded.


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