Australia in India 2012-13 February 8, 2013

Lyon hopes for two-spinner attack

ESPNcricinfo staff

Nathan Lyon, the Australia offspinner, believes Australia should field two spinners in the Test series against India, which begins in two weeks' time. Lyon was one of eight members of the Australia Test squad who landed in Chennai on Thursday, to acclimatise ahead of the series.

"I personally think so [that two spinners should play]. It's going to be a big challenge for all of us in the different conditions over here," Lyon said. "Hopefully there'll be an opportunity where two spinners will be able to go out on the field together for Australia."

Lyon pointed to the success the English slow bowlers enjoyed in India last November-December as evidence that more spinners is a strategy that is likely to work. He took note of a few things that he would like to emulate, he said. "I certainly watched [Monty] Panesar and [Graeme] Swann. They bowled quite well. I did watch Swann very, very closely and I hope to take in a few things and put the same method into practice against India. And India, they even played four spinners in the last Test against England."

Both India and England had played at least two spinners in all four Tests of that series, with India playing only a single quick in the second and fourth matches. The wicket charts, expectedly, were dominated by the spinners: Swann and Panesar took 20 and 17 wickets respectively, comfortably ahead of the next highest for England - James Anderson with 12. For India, while Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin took 34 wickets between them, all their other bowlers combined tallied 17.

Australia have a second spinner in left-armer Xavier Doherty, and spinning allrounders in Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell. The squad also includes 19-year-old Western Australia left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, in a development capacity: he will bowl at the touring batsmen in the nets and is likely to play the first warm-up game. This abundance of spin options will create healthy competition, Lyon said. "It's going to be a good challenge for all of us, and it's going to be really good pushing each other along for spots in the first Test side."

Dennis Lillee, the former Australia fast bowler, is in Chennai too and will work with the Australian team, researching why several of their young fast bowlers seem to be breaking down. "I'll be consulting when there are technical issues or injuries, but I'm not going to be travelling with the team," Lillee told the Hindu. "I'm looking into a lot of things, certainly their training methods, but also technique. My focus is on fitness, strength, and flexibility. So there's a lot I'll be researching and thinking about."

Australia will play the first of two tour games from February 12, against the Indian Board President's XI in Chennai. The first Test starts on Feburary 22, also in Chennai.

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  • John on February 9, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    @ ReadandWhiteArmy, based on existing statistics England has a .31 win to loss/draw/tie ratio while Australia has a .40 ratio in India. Australia's winning ratio is some ten points higher, albeit over fewer tests, but regardless of that fact the ratio of wins by both teams suggest that their records in India are far better than many commentators would have us believe. Both winning ratios are more than acceptable.

  • Graham on February 9, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    RedWhite Army - In laymans terms for you, Australia have won 29% of matches in India, England ariound 23.

  • Sean on February 9, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    @vishnu, if that is your real name. "England played 55. Won 13, lost 15, drawn 27. Australia played 42. Won 12, lost 15, tied 1, drawn 14. So England have won one more than australia & we've both lost the same amount? So i fail to see your point. Keep looking back to the past for comfort, i guess its all you guys have now. ouch.

  • Bob on February 9, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    How exciting is this Ashton Agar kid? I know it's very early days (a couple of first class games and a couple of 50 over games for WA, literally), but it's not just the statistics from those matches that are exciting. He is very tall, looks to have a cricket brain, has control and gives the ball a huge rip. I am a Jon Holland fan and believe he is clearly superior to Doherty, Beer and O'Keefe as a leftie finger spinner. Agar seems to put as much "fizz" on the ball, if not more, and he is 6'3" tall. The WA selectors will have a huge dilemma when they have to choose between him and Beer. It will also be interesting if Agar does well in the warm up game in India. By the way, you have to like Langer's approach as coach. His mantra is - this is an incredibly exciting time for a young cricketer - and his sides seem to be playing with that approach. (I also love his handling of S Marsh). Langer and Lehman as coaches are a breath of fresh air.

  • Patrick on February 9, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Nice call outs @Vishnu27, when confronted with a quality team, Eng completely wilted against SA, feeling very vulnerable and hence all the chatter, a rearguard win over India seems to have smoothed over a string of Test losses, their fans here appear to have low expectations and celebrate easily @Mitty2, don't let the haters get you down, Lyon was under huge pressure heading to SL and delivered the goods, reality will pain F-F-L, Lyon only goes for 3 runs and 6 balls more per wicket than his beloved overhyped Swann!!! LMAO

  • Cameron on February 9, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    xylo: a team such as SA "doing all they could to lose" is the "hilarious" comment. Please

  • Cameron on February 9, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    xylo: Australia weren't on top at the 'Gabba & Adelaide??? Are you serious? I don't think I missed anything when I went to those matches. You cannot tell me it was the other way around. We were unlucky in the first two; but that is sport & you must take you chances against a team like SA. Perth was abysmal & SA stepped up. End of story. I'm not the one mentioning Siddle BTW. So Siddle's "heart" alone has got him to 4 in the ICC bowling charts. Siddle's heart is according to you, is all Australia have then? Sounds to me a lot like England supporters shining up a good series win, but clearly moving on from glaring & large home defeat, all the while spruiking themselves to be top of the heap. England clearly have a better batting lineup (but is it settled? I'm not so sure). Australia's pace attack is without doubt streets ahead. AND, I can't wait for you to see it first hand

  • John on February 9, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    I think Lyon should do pretty well, although he will need Wade to keep better than he did against SA and SL. I also believe he's right in saying that two spinners is the best way to go in India, but I'm guessing that there won't be two spinners in the side for the first test, unless you count Clarke. Assuming everybody is fit, I think Aus will go with 6 batsmen, Wade, 3 seamers and Lyon.

    Aus has been fairly consistent in the make-up of the side and I don't expect it to change unless and until it proves to be unsuccessful.

  • Vikram on February 9, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    @ Vishnu27: Australia almost doing the job against SA was not a case of Australia being on top; it was mostly South Africa doing everything that they could to lose. And lets not forget that they were playing at home. Siddle might have the heart, but that does not make him a Steyn. Everybody seems to agree that Ishant Sharma bowls with a lot of heart but without luck too. And, we are not talking of individuals, but the bowling attack as a whole. Whatever edge Australia might have over India in the pace department, India will hold a similar edge in spin (yes, even Ashwin and Ojha with their current form will be a handful over Lyon and Maxwell(hilarious pick btw)). So, yes, I stand by what I said earlier.

  • Cameron on February 9, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    xylo, did you just make that up? Australia's "not so good bowling lineup" very nearly did the job against SA. Remind me again how England went against SA IN England? Or, would you prefer to conveniently just sweep that under the carpet as if no one else saw it? Seems many of your counterparts prefer that approach. Problem is, everyone in the cricketing world DID see that abject failure on home turf.

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