Australia in India 2012-13 February 7, 2013

'Big role' for Australia's fast men in India - Siddle


Australia's spearhead Peter Siddle believes pace bowling will be the key against India on the upcoming Test tour, despite the likelihood that the matches will be played on pitches offering significant spin. The first group of Australia's Test players flew out for India on Thursday while many of their team-mates remained at home to take on West Indies in the ongoing limited-overs series.

Siddle, Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson and Steven Smith all departed in the advance party and will prepare for the first warm-up match in Chennai, which starts on Tuesday next week. There are two tour games at the Guru Nanak College Ground in Chennai before the first Test, which begins at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on February 22.

The make-up of Australia's first-choice Test side remains unclear following the retirement of Michael Hussey after the most recent Test series against Sri Lanka. Australia have the option of including Glenn Maxwell as a spinning allrounder alongside three fast men and Nathan Lyon, but they also have the choice of an extra specialist batsman, Khawaja, or a seaming allrounder, Moises Henriques, or a second specialist spinner, Xavier Doherty.

Whatever side is picked, there will be mountains of work for Siddle and his fast-bowling colleagues, Pattinson, Bird, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc during the four-Test series. Despite the fact that nearly three quarters of the wickets that bowlers claimed in the recent India-England series fell to spinners - only 28 of 110 wickets went to fast bowlers - Siddle believes Australia will rely on the quality of their pace attack.

"The best way of attacking India is with whatever your best line-up is," Siddle told reporters at Melbourne airport on Thursday. "The way we've won Test matches for years now has been with our pace and I think that is going to play a big role. But Nathan [Lyon] is going to play a big role at the other end, and his game is going to flourish even more with the pressure we build at our end.

"Combined, we'll do well and definitely be able to take 20 wickets. We're strong, we've got a good set of quicks going over and we've got good back-up for Nathan over there with spin."

Siddle is one of only four members of Australia's 17-man squad who has played Test cricket in India, along with Johnson, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke. Siddle made his Test debut in Mohali in 2008 - it was there that he first established his reputation as a tireless workhorse - and he said the key to bowling in India was patience.

"Trying to bowl as straight and be as patient as we can be [is important]," Siddle said. "We were lucky enough that after the Sydney Test Glenn McGrath spent a bit of time in the rooms with us and we got a good chat with him, sat back and listened to how he went about his business over there.

"It's always been the case, even for a spinner - still patience. Indian wickets are hard work, the games go a little bit slower because the wickets are hard to score on. It is about patience, bowling to your fields and setting the right fields with your captain. Our side is disciplined enough now to go about it in that way. That won't change this series."

The second group of Australians - Maxwell, David Warner, Matthew Wade and the young spinner Ashton Agar - flies to India on Saturday and will be followed by the remainder of the group on Monday, the day after the final ODI against West Indies.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kiran on February 8, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    I hope india draw the series..if india loses this series then there is no big surprise..whenever a aus series starts it wil be ind batting vs aus bowling but this time aus bowling vs ind ????

  • Russell on February 8, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Should be a great series. Australia's decent pace attack against India's frail batting, and India's spinners against Australia's inexperienced top order. I think a lot hinges on Michael Clarke's form - i can't see anyone else in the top order making big hundreds.

  • Amjad on February 8, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Its not the fact that India lost 0-8 over the past few months that annoys me but rather the lack of intent and insatiable hunger to succeed at the pinacle form of the game. This lack of will and intent is a very well known secret and most India fans if not all know this. I heard some time back that a former Indian selector talked about removing Dhoni as test captain after the 04 Eng tour but then came the decree from BCCI's chief himself that "Dhoni is is good for business" and hence those voices were squashed aside. Clearly Dhoni is the best captain Ind had in the ODI format but he should not be in the test team and that much is crystal clear. Dhoni himself sort of vaguely admitted it when he said 'I wont run away from responsibility of leading the test team'. Which if you ask me he's yelling to find someone else who can take charge and try out something different. He maybe committed to the cause but clearly lacks the required skill set.

  • phenil on February 8, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    as indian fan, even i know this series will be in favor of australia 2-0 atleast. Starc will show Sehwag and gambhir his place. the only hope for india is if cheteshwar pujara and virat kohli maintain consistency and see off the aussie quicks because their spinners will be quite easy to handle. the real challenge will be whether australian batsmen can handle spin. they are relatively inexperienced so that will be the battle to watch.

  • Graham on February 8, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    Tanstell87 - Back in 04 India could actually bat. Tendulkar and Sehwag have become easy wickets. Gambhirs recent record is poor and Kohli really hasnt set them alight in test cricket. Australia has a very good bowling attack, probably not as good as 04 but they are developing nicely. I certainly know what bowling attack I would prefer out of the two teams. Dhoni as well as removing Ashwin and Ojha also has to remove Gambhir, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Z Kan. He also has to try putting less fielders on the boundary and some more in catching positions. If I was a bowler I would never bowl to a Dhoni set field.

  • Sherjil on February 8, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    I don't know how people can predict anything with this Indian team.Some people predicting 4-0 in favor of India which is totally insane.I am a huge Indian fan but still can't digest these baseless predictions. India for sure can give Australians a good fight, but to me, if we even win the series or for that matter draw level it, i would be more than happy. The problem area are not one...we are suffering in possibly all departments.Neither our openers are settled, nor our middle order is in form.Even our spinners are looking clueless.To impose a threat to Aussies, we first need to settle our team combinations, by the end of first test itself.Then only we can try and force some results in our favor.

  • Nic on February 8, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Jackson Bird is Australias new Best Fast Bowler!!!!! He Balls a consistant stump to stump line but has the ability of swinging it both ways! He can attack and defend which will come in handy in india and the ashes series!!! Siddle, Star and Bird should make up their pace attack with lyon or johnson making up the 4th bowling slot! looking forward to this seris.

  • Prakash on February 8, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    I think this will be an easy series victory for Australia. History means nothing now; this Indian team has touched new lows with every series. The team management still has not woken up. This Australian team is not as good as England on paper but they may well do better than the 2-1 defeat that England inflicted on them. I am predicting 3-0 for Australia with one of the defeats by an innings. I think Starc will terrorise the Indian batsmen and Lyon and Doherty, while not as good as Swann and Panesar, will completely out bowl the Indian spinners (who are they anyway?).

  • Dale on February 8, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    @Arup Sengupta. I'm not sure how you think Aussies are low on confidence. They dominated india last time they played, and have dominant wins against WI and Sri Lanka. They also dominated 10 of 15 days against the number 1 team in the world. I don't think confidence is an issue at all.

    Front Foot... remember when that spray attack completely dismanted England in Perth?

  • Tanmay on February 8, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    Australia's only success in India in last 45 years came in October 2004 when Tendulkar missed first 2 tests out of 4 with a tennis elbow & in the 3rd test some officials played spoilsport by dishing out a green track at Nagpur....most people forget India were verge of winning 2nd test at Chennai they needed 200 on day 5 with 10 wickets in hand & then the famous Chennai rain arrived,the game was washed out & India went into the 3rd test 0-1 down...India won the 4th test at Mumbai & the series was lost 1-2...McGrath,Gillespie,Kasprowicz bowled stump to stump but in absences of Tendulkar in first 2 tests made it easy for Australians to win finally in it would have been 2-2...anyways i dont think the current Aussie bowling will bother India...the only thing Dhoni has to do is to play Amit Mishra or Rahul Sharma in place of good for nothing Ashwin & Ojha will do the rest.