sport

Aussie duo to sit out decider

Australia captain Michael Clarke has confirmed Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus will sit out the deciding Test against South Africa in Perth.

And with fellow quick James Pattinson out with injury and spinner Nathan Lyon unlikely to play on a traditionally quick WACA wicket, the hosts could go into the game with a completely different attack to that which featured in Adelaide.

Siddle took six wickets in the second Test draw but is fatigued after being asked to bowl 63.5 overs in the match.

It means Australia could line-up with a four-man pace attack consisting of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson as well as uncapped duo Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings.

Clarke said: "It was a tough decision to leave them (Siddle and Hilfenhaus) out, especially with the way they've performed, especially Sidds in that last Test.

"But we need to do what's best for the team.

"It's about selecting the best 11 to win this Test match in these conditions against this opposition that we're playing against.

"We feel that we've got a really good stock with the other four bowlers in the squad of 12, so I think we're still in pretty good hands."

Clarke offered a glimmer of hope to Lyon but it would be a major surprise if he was given the nod.

"Nathan's still a chance that's for sure," he said.

"The wicket looks pretty good and I always like having spin in the team.

"Over a five-day period I think spin will play a part, but we need to work out what our best attack is to take 20 wickets.

"If we think Nathan's part of that best option, we'll go with him and if we don't, we'll go with four quicks."

An emotional Clarke broke down in the press conference after talking about Ricky Ponting's impending retirement, but regained his composure to talk up the magnitude of a game which, should his side win, will see them return to the top of the Test rankings.

"It's probably more special as it's been such a hard-fought series," he said.

"It's not very often in your career that you have an opportunity to beat a team and go back to being the number one Test team in the world, so we've got a lot to play for.

"But I don't think there's pressure on us.

"I think we can go out there and play with freedom and confidence.

"We've competed really well over the last two tests in the series, we love playing here in these conditions at the WACA with the extra pace and bounce and I'm confident that if we do what we've done in the first two Tests, we'll win this Test."