Brad Haddin braces for bouncer barrage from India at SCG

Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
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Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has warned Virat Kohli's pacemen he will take them down again if they repeat their predictable bumper barrage in the fourth test in Sydney.

The runs may not have flowed as freely off his bat as he would have liked in 2014 but Haddin is clearly not short of confidence, declaring he is in better touch now than leading into his red-letter Ashes campaign last summer.

A key player in the third test, and not just for his batting and keeping, Haddin refused to weigh into his feud with Kohli, who is taking over as India's captain after MS Dhoni's sudden retirement.

Brad Haddin plays a pull shot against India in the Boxing Day test at the MCG.
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Brad Haddin plays a pull shot against India in the Boxing Day test at the MCG.

Kohli's plans for Haddin will be an intriguing subplot to the test given the spicy relations between the pair in Melbourne. The more rational side of Kohli may see Haddin, like most batsmen, to be more vulnerable around off stump though that will need to drown out the machismo on Kohli's other shoulder commanding him to pepper the veteran with short-pitched balls.

Having bounced Haddin out in Brisbane, India repeated the tactic in Melbourne but were punished as the Australian counter-attacked with a momentum-changing half-century.

The Indians were more judicious with the short ball in the second innings but clearly believe they have found a weakness in Haddin's game. Haddin will duck and sway if necessary, but if the game needs to be moved along he's prepared to swing the bat like he did last week.

"If that's their plan ... I'll combat them whatever way I see fit. If I see a need to change momentum of the game, or the last hour [of a day] and I need to get through that period and set up the game for our team," Haddin said.

"If their bowlers want to bang it down halfway for an hour-and-a-half then go for your life."

In Melbourne, Haddin said, "I knew where they were bowling".

"It was about survival the night before, to get through and not expose our tail late in the day. The next day was about changing the momentum of the game," he said.

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"There was no secret where they were going to bowl - it was pretty predictable what was going to happen, but the difference was I needed to change the momentum of the game because it was a different stage and we needed to drive the game forward.

"In that respect it was pretty easy to get a plan because we knew what was coming. I hit two fours and they went back to conventional bowling."

Haddin's 55 came after a lean run stretching back to the start of the series in South Africa and though it was just one innings, it should be enough to get him to the Caribbean and the Ashes.

"I think I've said for a while I feel in better touch with the bat than I did leading into last summer," Haddin said.

"It was good to contribute with the bat the other day, but the big thing was we had to get through that night.

"I just took the risk out of the game from my point of view. It was about getting through that moment, that was a big moment in the test match. We know we need their bowlers backing up day after day.

"You've seen what Ryano [Ryan Harris], Mitch [Johnson] and all the guys did when the Indian bowlers got tired."

Haddin, who like many was extremely surprised by Dhoni's departure, believes the former captain has been a "great servant" for India.

"The way he handles himself and the team, the calmness he brings to a very, very big job in captaining the Indian cricket team, I think he's been wonderful over a long period of time," Haddin said.

"He was great to play against and a true gentleman of the game. I think he's left Indian cricket in a better place than it was when he took over."

 - SMH


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