Saker wary of overloading Australia pacemen

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Australia bowling coach David Saker is wary of the burden being placed on the team's quicks.

Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird and Josh Hazlewood have so far got through a combined total of 78.2 overs in the second Test with Pakistan, who ended day two in Melbourne on 310-6 following further interruptions due to rain, with Azhar Ali unbeaten on 139.

And while Saker backed the decision to keep faith with Nic Maddinson as a specialist batsman at number six, after the newcomer failed in his first two Tests, he acknowledged the workload of Australia's four-man pace attack was not ideal.

"It's a good sign of faith in Maddinson, saying we're going to give you another go," said Saker after the close of play on Tuesday.

"I don't mind that, but as an Australian team we have to realise that sometimes overloads your strike bowlers, which could have a detrimental effect down the road.

"We go in with four bowlers. You can always overload someone if the opposition are good enough to bat for long periods of time.

"Also, because the ball was wet, at times it was hard to bowl the spinner as well. That's another dilemma.

"Yes, it's a concern, but you can't do much about it when you go in with four bowlers; someone is going to get some overload.

"It's not always great, but that's where we are in Australian cricket at the moment. We're desperately looking for that all-rounder who can bowl some overs for us.

"I'd like six or seven bowlers in a team, if I could. But I'm the bowling coach - my job is to get 20 wickets and the more bowlers in the team, the more likely that's going to happen." 

Saker is keen for Steve Smith to use his own leg-breaks more frequently.

Australia's skipper, who initially earned selection as an all-rounder before focusing on his batting, bowled three overs on Tuesday, but was seen to clutch his side early in his spell.

"I'd like to see him bowl more, without a doubt," said Saker. "He got picked for Australia originally as a spin bowler and I'd like to see him bowl more.

"I've got no knowledge of any injury. I did see him feeling his side, especially in that first over. I think he's just a little bit stiff and hasn't bowled much."