AUSTRALIA'S lone danger man in the first Test, James Pattinson, could be rested from the second leg of the series in Hyderabad, with team hierarchy desperate not to risk the fast bowler breaking down again.
There is only a three-day turnaround until the second Test begins on Saturday, and Australia will consider what effect the rigours of the Chennai defeat had on the 22-year-old Victorian, who was making his international return from a lower rib injury suffered against South Africa in November.
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Australia's dismal record in India continued on Tuesday, as they slumped to an eighth consecutive defeat in their first Test in Chennai.
India completed an eight-wicket win here on Tuesday morning, successfully managing a 50-run chase after Australian debutant Moises Henriques was left stranded on 81 not out. The home side leads the four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy series 1-0.
Pattinson, along with NSW all-rounder Henriques, was a leading light for Australia, claiming 5-96 in the first innings - including five of India's top seven batsmen - and adding another in their brief second dig. On the second day his quickest deliveries reached 150km/h and on a wicket not designed for quicks, he was able to cause the Indians no shortage of trouble.
But he is coming off what the team's high-performance staff regard as a "low base" - entering the first Test with only a Sheffield Shield appearance in January and a two-day tour game in Chennai, as well as a cameo in club cricket last month.
After being used carefully by captain Michael Clarke earlier in the match - Pattinson bowled only six overs in two full sessions on Saturday, but devastated the India top order in the process - he finished the match in hot conditions with a total of 33 overs under his belt - more than any of the tourists except spinner Nathan Lyon.
The concern with Pattinson's workload is due to his previous breakdowns. After starring against South Africa in Brisbane, he went down during the second Test in Adelaide, wiping him out for the rest of the international summer.
The previous season, a stress injury in his foot - sustained in Sydney - cut short his home series against India. It was later revealed that Cricket Australia's sports scientists had warned he could break down in that match. On that occasion he was out for two months.
A back injury also ruled him out midway through the series in the West Indies last April.
Selectors receive advice from the high-performance team on players' workloads and fitness before every match, and then make a decision. The problem with giving Pattinson a break, though, is that he was Australia's only effective bowler in Chennai, where Clarke's side was blown away by M.S. Dhoni's double century.
"He was fantastic on a pretty good batting wicket," Clarke said of Pattinson.
"To keep running in in that first innings and hit the wicket - I think he bowled 30 overs - I think that's a real positive for him and for us."
Clarke admitted Australia's other pacemen in Chennai, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc, bowled below expectations but said conditions were difficult. There is a drive on for Australia to pick a second spinner, Xavier Doherty, in Hyderabad, but Clarke refrained from saying whether the tourists would stick with three fast bowlers.
"I think it will be silly to talk about the make-up of the team without seeing conditions," he said.
"The [pacemen] tried everything. I think our execution wasn't as disciplined as we need, especially when the wicket is good for batting. You need to be really patient and be able to build pressure. We did that at stages but not as consistently as we needed to."