Australia in India 2012-13

Australia to trial three spinners in warm-up

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 15, 2013

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Australia will go into their final practice match before the first Test against India with three spinners in their XI. Their captain Michael Clarke and opener David Warner will sit out of the game, as they continue their rehabilitation from injuries in order to be fit for the Chennai Test from February 22.

Included in the XI for the three-day game against India A is Ashton Agar, the 19-year old left-arm spinner who has been asked to stay on tour instead of returning home as planned. Agar will bowl alongside Australia's frontline spinner Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty at the ICL Guru Nanak College ground in Chennai, with Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc being the two quick bowlers.

In his first media interaction after arriving in India, Clarke reeled off his team's XI, and four of the top six - Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja, Moses Henriques and Matthew Wade - had played in the first practice match. Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes are the other two lining up against the India A bowlers.

Australia were treating their first practice match - a two-day game against the Board President's XI - as a "victory", Clarke said. After being dismissed for 241, the Australians skittled the opposition for 230. "To bowl them out for less than what we had scored in conditions they are really accustomed to was a good sign for us."

Playing three spinners with Siddle and Starc in the three-day match, Clarke said, would give him a chance to "assess where our players are at, have a look at the guys in preparation for the Test team. We are giving our spinners the best chance by playing [all] three."

Australia's practice session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, the venue for the first Test, had to be cancelled due to overnight rain, but Clarke turned up to test his hamstring. The conditions at the practice match venue, he said, were different to those at the stadium. "From what I was looking at the conditions, spin bowling is going to play a really big part throughout this first Test match." India picked four spinners, including Ravindra Jadeja, for the first two Tests and Clarke said he believed, "a lot of those guys if not all of them" could end up playing in Chennai.

In a raw Australian batting line-up, Clarke is the best and most experienced batsman against spin. However, he remembered what his 2010 tour, when he scored 35 runs in four innings, had been like. "I think reputation is irrelevant to be honest, especially my reputation. I start on zero like everybody else. My last tour to India wasn't anywhere near as successful as I would have liked. I really enjoy the challenge of facing spin bowling but it still gets me out, like every player."

Clarke's debut series in India in 2004, however, had been memorable. Apart from his maiden century in Bangalore, Clarke also took 6 for 9 in the third Test in Mumbai. "You will see the spin bowling of Michael Clarke in Chennai - five wickets," he said with a laugh at the end of his meet with the press.

There were pleasantries and good humour before the start of what Clarke said was his toughest series as captain. The general tone of the pre-series build-up bore little resemblance to the usual verbal cut and thrust of an India-Australia contest. Much of the difference is due to the relative inexperience of Clarke's team in what he termed, "red ball cricket" in India.

"To me it's not about what you say, it's about what you do. As a player and as the Australian cricket team, that's our goal. It's no good us making statements or comments and not backing them up. I would rather people say less and do more."

Clarke was asked about the absence of the Decision Review System in the forthcoming series and said that while he believed the system helped to "get the decisions as consistent as we possibly can," he was "not bothered" about it not being used.

"I would like to see it consistently used - I would want us to say, yes we're going to use it in all the Test matches, all the one-dayers. I would like the ICC to make a decision on that. Personally it's saved me from getting out on a couple of occasions, it's probably got me given out on a couple of occasions, as well. What the game of cricket is trying to do is get the decisions as consistent as we possibly can and technology has helped that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 17, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge, would argue Monty is the superior of the 2 bowlers, Doherty is no match, Lyon has Swan covered though, not sure where this myth of Swann being a big turner comes from, he get's no more than Lyon in Aust, seriously have you just made this up?

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (February 16, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

@land47 don't be surprised if Watto top scores tomorrow and kicks Cowan out of the opening slot. Khawaja may also score highly so its really up to Watto, Cowan and Khawaja to show what they can do tomorrow, the guys who score most will get the first test, i hope its Watson at opener and Khawaja t 4 though we can slot all 3 in if we go wiht 6 specialist batsman.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 16, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

@ pat_one_back: " I don't think many Aussies or otherwise would rate any 2/3 combo on par with Swann & Monty."

Good to see someone with a bit of cricketing knowledge around here. Not even RandyOZ would start a comparison between Swann and any Australia bowler. The facts are just too damming and too obvious to deny.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (February 16, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

I am in a bit of shock and surprise......Two walking Indian wickets(read Nohit Sharma and Gambhir) thrashed Australian attack apart that is almost Australia's best test side. Surprised that Agar was preferred ahead of Pattinson. Anyways, very good signs for India.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 16, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: "But do the Aussies feel that these 3 'spinners' are anywhere as good as Monty and Swann ? "

Does the question even have to be asked more like. You have on one side, England's side, the biggest turner of the ball, Swann, and the potent, proven Monty. And on the other, Australia's side, you have a seamer in to fill the spinner's role, and a sub-standard bowlers who bowls darts. That's one heck of a comparison..!

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 16, 2013, 6:09 GMT)

@Capt.Meanster, I don't think many Aussies or otherwise would rate any 2/3 combo on par with Swann & Monty. That being said, Lyon cops a lot of over the top criticism, slammed when 50 overs, 4/50 wasn't quite enough to defeat the world's best yet Swann couldn't buy a SA wicket in Eng, basically the 2 are v.similar in stats, experience aside, expect Lyon to do well and maybe even pull some breakthrough figures. Who knows X may surprise but seems a very week link.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 16, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

Look, I am not anti-Australian. But do the Aussies feel that these 3 'spinners' are anywhere as good as Monty and Swann ? I do agree with one thing though. These 3 spinners will definitely learn a lot by bowling to Indian batsmen who are traditionally very strong against spin bowling. The question is whether the Australians will be satisfied about simply gaining experience or going for another series win on Indian soil since 2004. It's the latter that really wouldn't excite me if I was an Aussie supporter. The fact is Australia's spinners are next to mediocre. In India, you need your spinners to deliver because the quicks won't get much from the pitches after the first hour and 45 minutes.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 16, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

If Agar can bowl even half decently he is in with a real chance of getting the nod, along with Lyon. I can guarantee you that most Aus. fans had no clue who Ashton Agar was this time last week and now he is within spitting distance of the Test team.

What a difference a week makes !!

Posted by Javacrossing on (February 16, 2013, 1:22 GMT)

To ar.d and Manish Purohit, you do realise that we only had 2 recognised batsmen in our team? After that, we played our wicketkeeper and three allrounders. In light of that, I think that 241 is a perfectly good score. Four or Rasool's wickets came from our bowlers, so his 7 wicket haul shouldn't count for too much. It's an amazing achievement, but not all that everyone is making it out to be.

Posted by mateyman on (February 16, 2013, 1:12 GMT)

@ar.d, our batting lineup geared little resemblance to what our batting lineup will be in the tests. Wade was batting at 3 FFS

Posted by Meety on (February 16, 2013, 0:49 GMT)

Worrying that Warner & Clarke won't bat before the Test. Warner does have IPL experience in India, but really needs a solid hit out. Wonder what the chances are of him not been cleared to play for the 1st Test.

Posted by landl47 on (February 16, 2013, 0:37 GMT)

It appears clear that Mad Max is out of the frame for the first test. They're trying out three spinners and he's not one of them, even though an 18-year old intern is being given a look. I thought something was up when Agar got 8 overs to Maxwell's 4 in the first warm-up match.

There's no reason to drop Lyon and the other two are SLA no there's no way they'll both play. However, they might bowl themselves out of contention if they don't look threatening. It therefore appears that it's either Lyon and 3 quicks or Lyon, either A or X, and two quicks, which means Henriques will probably play and one of the batsmen misses out. If it's that combination and assuming they are all fit, it seems to be between Cowan and Khawaja for the last spot. Cowan's the man in possession and he top-scored in the first warm-up, so it might be tough luck Ussie again.

My feeling is neither A nor X will show enough in this match and Aus will go 6-1-4 with Lyon and 3 quicks.

Posted by srriaj317 on (February 15, 2013, 23:24 GMT)

@Manish Purohit & ar.d: I think those were good signs considering Australia played only 2 specialist batsmen in the first warm-up game - Cowan and Khawaja. And those 2 are not even sure starters in Aus's 1st choice team. Wade was the only other Test bat in the side. Looking at that, I would say it was excellent that a team with 3 bats, 3 all-rounders beat an India A side with 7 bats and 1 all-rounder.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (February 15, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

So no warm-up for Johnson means he's out of Test contention? I though Bird could play the Copeland-type role of putting pressure on one end if we only go in with one spinner but hes not playing this game. Looks like Maxwell and Smith probably won't play either. The squads too big, and there's not enough warm up games for everyone to have a descent run.

Posted by ar.d. on (February 15, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

A good sign for Bowlers, I agree. But their batters succumbing to a spinner playing his first game for India-A side, doesn't bode well for coming times.

Posted by Mr_Ronan on (February 15, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

This shows Australia have clearly decided in the 1st Test to play two frontline spinners, two pacemen and Henriques as the 5th bowler. Why do teams get so obsessed with the pitch conditions instead of just playing their best bowlers? Pattinson, Bird and Johnson are all WAY better than Doherty or Agar, so why would u even consider playing them regardless of the state of the pitch?

India, for example, used to play Kumble AND Harbhajan in Aussie conditions because they were gun bowlers and way better than any pace alternatives. That makes sense.

You also need to consider that, should you play Doherty (which is far more likley than Agar debuting) as the second spinner, you lose about 25 runs per Test with the bat in comparison to the multi-skilled Johnson or Pattinson. And MANISH: Clarke was claiming it was dominant just that it was a pleasing effort against a talented Indian batting lineup. Stick to watching Twilight buddy :P

Posted by Thefakebook on (February 15, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

Good interview Cptain Clarke.Siddle and Starc are the two bowlers that'll play in 1st test Lyon is fixed.The only 2 questions are is Cowan gonna be droped for no possible reason regarding form? And can Agar get the amazing debut? I think no and yes.

Posted by Apocalypse_EX on (February 15, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

@Manish Purohit it is a big deal for bowlers who are bowling in India for the first time in tests(except siddle). He actually only said "it was a good sign".

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 15, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

I know Clarke is being modest, but he has nothing to be afraid of this Indian team that our selectors assembled. The Indian team comprises of washed out players like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Ishant and Bhajji. These guys were good 5 years ago, but on current form they won't find a place in Afghanistan team. Just follow England's lead and play 2 spinners + 2 pacers and 1 all-rounder. That should be enough to beat this tired out-of-form Indian team. Indian Selectors could have picked a better team by selecting in-form players like Jaffer, Rayudu, Rasool, Nadeem, Ahmed, etc. but in India past performances and regional affiliations carry more weightage.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

Anything less than a masterclass from clarke can only save australia,just what alastair cook did for england,and what was he talking abt "To bowl them out for less than what we had scored in conditions they are really accustomed to was a good sign for us."?? not even a single member of that 11 is part of the squard and restricting them under 250 is not a bigdeal clarke:!!

Posted by disco_bob on (February 15, 2013, 15:30 GMT)

Good mature interview from Clarke. Excellent to begin a series without any trash talk.

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India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
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