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Australia to import Indian-style pitches to tackle spin

Brisbane: With an eye to improve the national team's dismal sub-continental record, Cricket Australia was mulling the idea of importing soil from India and install Asian-style practice pitches at the National Cricket Centre here.

Australia boasts of a woeful record in sub-continent, the latest being their 0-4 thrashing in India last year. Since their tour to Bangladesh in 2006, Australia have played 13 Tests in Asia out of which they won just one win.

Australia's next Test series is against Pakistan in the UAE later this year and adapting to spin-friendly tracks will be key to their success. "Our toughest challenge the last few years has been having success away from home," Clarke told reporters here where his men are training camp ahead of their tours of Zimbabwe and the UAE later this year.

"We didn't play well in India. I don't know, but I am guessing the wickets in Dubai will be similar. I am guessing they will prepare wickets that spin and they will have two or three spinners in those teams. We have to find a way to get better.

That is one of our great challenges as a Test team," he said. Although the Indian-style pitches are unlikely to be installed in time to prepare Australia for their series against Pakistan, Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance Pat Howard hoped they would be in place by the end of the coming summer.

"A third of all our matches are in the sub-continent, so you've got to be able to deal with it," Howard said. "While we do practise here against spin ... we know it's not as real as being there. We're never going to make it exactly the same, but we're going to try to get as close as we can.

"The subcontinent (pitch) idea has been around for a long time and we're very much trying to make this a place where in the middle of winter guys can get themselves ready and prepared. Some players in our system are fantastic at using their feet and playing against spin, but our collective experience has got to get better," he added.

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