Clarke eyes quick victory

TWO Sri Lankans were put in hospital by a Mitchell Johnson pace assault in Melbourne and Australian captain Michael Clarke says his quartet of fast bowlers will again look to exploit the tourists' vulnerability to short balls in a bid to send Michael Hussey out with a 3-0 series victory.

Baulking at the chance to trial Victorian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell in a dead rubber in Sydney, Clarke was convinced enough by a green SCG wicket to want four pacemen for the third Test - the first time Australia has done so at the ground in more than 50 years.

The intimidation factor has done the trick so far this series. In a one-sided Boxing Day Test the tourists were twice rolled cheaply. Kumar Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene were sent to the emergency room, and out of the series, with finger injuries.

Clarke defended the decision not to blood Maxwell before the four-Test tour of India, starting in February, where the off-spinning all-rounder is expected to feature.

''I'm purely focused on this Test, as the selectors are,'' he said. ''The chairman of selectors, coach [and] other selectors need to make sure they're thinking about the future and I'm sure the Indian tour is at the front of their mind, but in regard to me as captain of the team and the boys playing the game, our focus is to win this Test and to have beaten Sri Lanka 3-0.''

Australia's pace trio in Melbourne - Johnson, Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird - will be joined in Sydney by Mitchell Starc, who returns from a rotation-policy rest.

Australia has used three quicks and a bowling all-rounder, such as Shane Watson or Andrew McDonald, in Sydney in recent years but this is the first time since 1954 - when a line-up against England included new-ball duo Ray Lindwall and Ron Archer and left-armers Bill Johnston and Alan Davidson - that Australia will field four front-line seamers at the SCG. Nathan Lyon will handle spinning duties alone.

Clarke denied Sri Lanka's batsmen would be bombarded with short balls but Johnson is tipped to be given licence to attack as he did in Melbourne, while the economical Bird builds pressure at the other end.

''You can expect some good, fast bowling but it doesn't necessarily need to be short,'' he said. ''It's about execution. We have plans for each individual player. Some of those plans involve short-pitched bowling.

''I don't think you will see anything ridiculous. It's about us bowling well to our plans.''

Johnson will rise to No. 7 in the batting order in a reshuffle forced by the absence of Watson. Clarke has little doubt the bowler-heavy line-up will be enough to beat Sri Lanka.

Clarke, who scored an unbeaten 329 against India in Sydney a year ago, will bat at No. 4. Hussey and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade will also be bumped up a spot.

He said Wade was a genuine top-order batsman. ''It's just that he keeps [wicket], so batting at six or seven gives him more time to recover. Matthew Wade batting at No. 6 won't be a problem at all.

''He's been hitting the ball really well, hasn't made a big score for a while, so I wouldn't be surprised if you see him walk out and make a hundred in this Test.''

Clarke said the team was determined to win for the retiring Hussey.

''Since I've been playing for Australia, it's been a contributing factor to our success when guys retire. It's special to get a win in that last game for them and I'm certain this Test will be no different.''

Clarke added Australia would not appoint a temporary vice-captain in Sydney, but Hussey would take over if he was forced off.

This story Clarke eyes quick victory first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.