One possibility is slightly modifying the layout to allow more template controls. This is not directly related to getting the alias of the article, but another approach.
To do this add this field inside the
<field name="htmllayout" type="list" default="center"
description="Dynamic layout style from index.php"
You can add as many options as you need, I have 2 there as an example. This will create a setting in the template manager. Opening up the template in the template manager should allow you to change that setting as well. The key is to leave the current template on main, then duplicate the template (It only duplicates the settings, not the files). In this second template you can change the HTML Layout and use the tab "menu assignment" to specify which page may use it. So in the case of an alias of an article, as long as the article has a menu item associated with it (most likely with the same alias) it should be fairly easy to assign that template to the specified alias (and all others).
So basically you will have a template specified for use only with specific pages.
This also requires some edits to the
index.php as well though.
add the following to the top of the file, within the first php block:
$htmllayout = $this->params->get('htmllayout');
Then, anywhere you need to specify something different for a special layout then do the following:
<?php if($htmllayout=='LAYOUTNAME'): ?>
anything you need here
<?php endif; ?>