MOHALI, India - The suspensions of four players mean skipper Michael Clarke is approaching Australia's third Test against India with one hand tied behind his back, and his wicketkeeper could be hobbling on one leg.
Clarke, coach/selector Mickey Arthur and selector-on-duty Rod Marsh have a list of 13 names from which to pick an 11 for today's match and gloveman Matthew Wade is in doubt because of an ankle injury.
Wade was due to train with the squad in Mohali late on Wednesday Australian time and Clarke said he wouldn't name a side until the coin toss.
Former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who has been flown over to be on standby for Wade, could possibly play as a specialist batsman today.
Clarke is floating the possibility of both wicketkeepers playing in the match with No.4 Shane Watson and back-up batsman Usman Khawaja among the four players suspended for failing to complete a homework assignment.
The other two banned players — Test quick James Pattinson and reserve paceman Mitchell Johnson — were both likely to have played in Mohali.
Pattinson is the side's leading wicket-taker in the series with eight in losing teams in the first two Tests, while Johnson had been due for a recall on a pitch where he took a five-for in 2010.
On a pitch expected to offer more assistance to the quick bowlers than the Chennai and Hyderabad tracks, Australia have only two frontline pace bowlers available -- Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc.
If Wade is passed unfit then there's only 12 names left, including spinner Nathan Lyon who was dropped for the second Test.
"He (Wade) will train today. If he gets through unscathed I imagine we will have to wait until we see how he pulls up in the morning before we make our decision," Clarke said on Wednesday.
"Wadey, if he can't keep, there's an option he can play as a batter. If he can keep, Brad Haddin can play as a batter."
Clarke said the mood at training had been exceptional this week despite the shock bans handed out to four players which was widely ridiculed back in Australia.
"I couldn't ask for any more from the boys," Clarke said.
Clarke praised the efforts of Johnson, Khawaja and Pattinson, while he's spoken by phone to Watson who has returned to Sydney for the birth of his first child.
Struggling top-order batsman Phil Hughes (25 runs at 6.25) gets another crack thanks to the suspensions of Watson and Khawaja.
Clarke also put the acid on himself to turn starts into big scores after tallying 130, 31, 91 and 16 in the first two Tests.
"Batting higher than (his regular slot at) number five in this game, it's important I put my hand up and lead from the front," he said.