Clarke hints at playing Lyon
Brisbane - Skipper Michael Clarke hinted on Wednesday he is likely to play spinner Nathan Lyon and leave out one of Australia's three fast bowling newcomers against New Zealand at the Gabba.
Clarke, lining for his seventh Test as captain and first at home on Thursday, did not reveal his selected eleven, but suggested left-armer Lyon's finger-spin could get its rewards on the bouncy Gabba strip.
Selectors included four untried players in an initial 12-man squad, including pacemen James Pattinson, Ben Cutting and Mitchell Starc during an injury crisis, along with opening batsman David Warner.
Australia have not lost a Test at the Gabba since defeat to a formidable West Indies side in 1988 and Clarke put it down to the familiarity with the traditional pace and bounce of the pitch.
"The experience I've had at the Gabba, a lot of spinners have had success with bounce more than spin so I'm not concerned too much in regards to how much the ball spins on this wicket if there's bounce," Clarke said.
"And generally if there's seam there's generally a bit of spin as well.
"So if a spinner plays in our team I'm very confident he'll have success."
Clarke said the likelihood that senior paceman Mitchell Johnson would be out for the entire Australian summer following expected foot surgery this week, would offer an opportunity to the new crop of pacemen.
"No doubt it's an opportunity," he said. "It doesn't matter how you get your chances as a player. It's about grabbing it with both hands.
"All the guys available to make their debut are seeing it like that. They've got the chance to come in and be a part of this great team and hopefully build a career."
Clarke said he had been impressed by watching his pace attack, led by 25-Test Peter Siddle, in the nets.
The Australian captain cautioned the Kiwis about taking too much confidence from their run feast against Australia A in a warm-up match at the batsman-friendly Allan Border Field across town.
The Black Caps plastered an Australia A attack featuring Pattinson, Cutting and Starc for 890 runs in two innings in a drawn match, with Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum and captain Ross Taylor all hitting centuries.
"In my time it's been the Gabba that does have good pace and bounce and it's quite a tough place to start your innings on," Clarke said.
"The senior guys have played a fair bit of cricket here and we have to give the youngsters as much knowledge as we can. Throughout this Test that will play in our favour. "
Clarke said overhead conditions on the morning of the Test would decide whether he would bat first if he won the toss.