Aussie to fight fire with fire: Clark

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia pacer Stuart Clark says his team will fight &quot;fire with fire&quot; in the four-match Test series against India starting in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Updated: December 28, 2007 13:01 IST
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Australia pacer Stuart Clark says his team will fight "fire with fire" in the four-match Test series against India starting in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"There has been a fair bit of talk from them about being aggressive, and that's fine by us," Clark was quoted as saying in the Age newspaper on Monday.

"We are more than capable of fighting fire with fire. It's going to be a great challenge for everyone, because they have some truly great players in their line-up and, in Sachin, one of the all-time greats," said Clarke, who is yet to play a Test against India.

Clark, who has played 11 Tests, said that it would be a challenge to bowl to a formidable batting line-up that includes Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly.

"We've been doing our homework on them. There's been quite a lot of video analyses and today [Monday] we had our first big discussion on the plans we have for them, and different ideas. We can't wait to get out there," he said.

Clark also said that Australia has conceded the home-ground advantage to India in the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which traditionally assists spinners.

Clarke's fears emanate from the fact that the MCG pitch, according to curator Tony Ware, would also help spinners as the five-day match progresses.

Australia have no one to match leg-spinner and captain Anil Kumble and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Clark said Australia's bowling attack, comprising mainly speedsters, would have "little expectation" from the pitch. "That way, we could really ram home our advantage," he said.

Experts also feel that India's best chance in the four-Test series lay in Melbourne.

Clarke also asked his home board, Cricket Australia (CA), to schedule future first Tests in Perth or Brisbane where the pitches traditionally suit pacers.

"The conditions in Brisbane and Perth are so different to what you find in the subcontinent, and it would obviously be ideal from our perspective to play the first Test of series in places like that," he said.

"Of course, that's easier said than done with the crammed schedules these days and the Future Tours Program to comply with. But from the team's perspective, it would be great if we were able to start series against the Indians and the Sri Lankas of world cricket at grounds like Brisbane and Perth and get the full advantage of our unique pitch conditions."

If Australia have just beaten New Zealand in a One-Day International (ODI) series, India are fresh from their first Test series win over Pakistan at home in over 27 years. But India's series win came on low and slow home pitches.

India's only preparatory match before the Test series, against Victoria here, was badly affected by rain last week.

It left the Indians with little opportunity to get a fair idea of the bouncy and quick pitches that they are expected to encounter during the tour that also comprises an ODI triangular series involving Sri Lanka.

"The Indians did not get a lot of exposure to our bouncier surfaces and you'd probably say Melbourne isn't one of those," Clark said.

"I'm not going into the match with any expectations for a fast bowler-friendly wicket, but we'll just roll up on the day and see what we're presented with."

"We'll be playing the third Test in Perth and it will be interesting to see how that goes. We're all well aware that scheduling these days isn't a simple matter, but I suppose you'd just like to get that real home-ground advantage if it was possible," he said.

Clarke is already looking forward to the Perth Test.

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