India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai

Spin v pace in series opener

The Preview by Siddarth Ravindran

February 21, 2013

Comments: 132 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

February 22-26, Chennai
Start time 9.30am (0400GMT)


Sachin Tendulkar acknowledges the applause for his half-century, India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 1st day, December 5, 2012
The final home series for Sachin Tendulkar? © BCCI
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For a rivalry that has produced plenty of gripping cricket over the past decade or so, the run-up to this series has been strangely muted. The Indian captain hasn't spoken to the press even once before the series, there have been no major controversies in the warm-up matches, there hasn't been too much of the pre-series mind games, and even the broadcasters' TV campaign has changed from the taunting tone it had before the England series to a more sober, cricket-centric one.

Both India and Australia are going through a generational change in the batting, but when it comes to the bowling, the Chennai Test could feature two of the most contrasting line-ups in any match. Though the surface at the Chidambaram Stadium is expected to have plenty of turn, Australia are going in with only one specialist spinner in Nathan Lyon, and with three fast bowlers and medium-pace bowling allrounder Moises Henriques. India, on the other hand, are almost certain to start with only one quick bowler in Ishant Sharma, and play three, or even four, spinners. Unexpectedly, India announced a day ahead of the Test that Harbhajan Singh, Australia's nemesis on so many occasions, will be in the XI for what will be his 100th Test.

The series also presents a huge challenge for both captains.In Chennai Michael Clarke, without the reassuring presence of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, will be leading a XI of which only three players have played a Test in India. The other eight all have 20 Test caps or less. For MS Dhoni, whose stocks have steadily declined since the high of the 2011 World Cup, another high-profile home series defeat could trigger the end of his Test captaincy.

When these two teams faced off in a Test series last year, the consensus in India was that the tour offered the best chance to beat Australia in Australia. It ended with India losing all four Tests, some of them in an abjectly one-sided manner. This will be a much closer contest - India have been flaky in Tests over the past couple of years but still have a formidable home record, while a re-building Australia briefly flirted with a return to the No. 1 spot but have traditionally found the going difficult in India.

Form guide

(Last five matches, most recent first)
India DLLWW
Australia WWWLD

Watch out for...

A spate of injuries to India's quick bowlers has thrust Ishant Sharma into the role of pace spearhead. The only other fast bowlers in the squad are Ashok Dinda and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, neither of whom have made their Test debuts. Indian cricket has given Ishant a long rope, but nearly 50 Tests into his career, his bowling average is a disappointing 38. Television ads building up to this series are still replaying his famous spell to Ricky Ponting from five years ago. Over the next month, Ishant needs to deliver on the promise that heady performance showcased.

Shane Watson is another player who is in a more senior role than he would have expected. The departure of Ponting and Hussey means that he is the only batsman besides Clarke who has played Tests in India. In addition to his responsibilities as an experienced member of the side, Watson will also have to adjust to playing as a specialist No. 4 batsman in this series. He has spent much of his Test career as an opener who also bowled medium-pace, and his decision to not bowl in this series will have critics pointing to his lack of centuries and questioning whether he is good enough to be in the side as a pure batsman.

Teams

India's two major decisions are over who will partner Virender Sehwag at the top of the order, and the identity of the No. 6 batsman. M Vijay is the front-runner for the opening slot, ahead of Shikhar Dhawan, while the No. 6 position is likely to be a toss-up between Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja.

India: (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 M Vijay, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Ravindra Jadeja/Ajinkya Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Pragyan Ojha

Australia announced their XI two days ahead of the Test, picking Moises Henriques for the allrounder's spot, ahead of Glenn Maxwell.

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Ed Cowan, 3 Phillip Hughes, 4 Shane Watson, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Matthew Wade (wk), 7 Moises Henriques, 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 James Pattinson, 11 Nathan Lyon

Pitch and conditions

For a city that is one of the major cricketing centres in the country, and one that is reputed to have a Test-appreciating crowd, it is a bit surprising that Chennai hasn't hosted a Test match since the famous chase of 387 against England in December 2008. The Chepauk pitch is completely devoid of grass and is expected to be spinner-friendly. Temperatures are expected to be around 30 degrees and no rain is predicted over the next week.

Stats and trivia

  • In 12 Tests against Australia at home, Harbhajan Singh has 84 wickets at 24.48, including seven five-wicket hauls
  • Henriques is set to become the second Portugal-born Test cricketer, after South Africa's Dick Westcott
  • In the past 28 years, India have lost only one Test in Chennai - the iconic 1999 match against Pakistan

Quotes

"I said we can beat Australia 4-0 and why not? If you don't believe in yourself, who will? I believe we can do it, and we can work towards it. you have got to believe in yourself."
Harbhajan Singh

"I'm not that bothered about what's happened in regards to the Indian series against England. I watched a fair bit of it ... but we're a different team to England."
Michael Clarke

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Malediction on (February 22, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

This pitch is falling apart before drinks on the first day. A good cricket wicket is an even contest between bat and ball. Something early for the quicks, settles down for the batsmen then wears and takes turn to give the spinners an opportunity. Test cricket in India has become a test of batsmen playing spin only. It may get them a few wins at home, but really just makes them even more vulnerable when playing away. The solution to playing badly is to play better, not try and change the game.

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 22, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

@ jaysus-- give it a rest mate wait till both teams bat first, india cud be all out for 200 or they cud post 500 plus to bat aus out of game , the latter is more probable with lyon the sole spinner. even his mates wudnt bank on his off spinners. wat is thaT WORD WITH'L' THAT comes to mind , speaking of which losing in india is nothing new for aussies , last 2 series were 2-0 blow out , this cud get worse.

Posted by Jayzuz on (February 22, 2013, 3:51 GMT)

You do have to wonder just how blatant the pitch meddling has to be before somebody makes a formal complaint. The pitch looks like it has been baked in a furnace, with the local exterminator called out to extinguish all biological life from its surface. Is there not a requirement to put grass on cricket pitches? It does irk me that the Indians complain about pitch doctoring when they are provided perfectly standard pitches when they travel overseas - and then they go and do this kind of thing when other teams tour. What is that word that begins with "h"? Speaking of other "h" words, I thought honour was an important concept in that part of the world?

Posted by Simoc on (February 22, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

It's such a conservative team Oz has gone in with. A reflection of the ancient selectors. This does not look like an Oz team capable of winning. India would have to be abysmal to lose to this Oz team. By the third test Oz will be picking the right team for the conditions and it may be to late to win the series.

Posted by oneupnowuv on (February 22, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

Jadeja over Rahane,Ashwin over Ojha very poor selections...cmon Aussies beat them black and blue.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

Disappointed to not see gambhir and Raina in team. Raina has been ver consistent. 100 times better than jadeja. Even in one days he plays according to situation. Is he bein punished because he has strokes.

Posted by hramesh on (February 22, 2013, 3:15 GMT)

Please do not have three or 4 spinners in the side include bhuvanesh kumar, and then jadeja, so you will have 5 bowlers

Posted by Jayzuz on (February 22, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

Certainly interesting. A lot of unknowns with this series, a lot of players with much to prove, as @RU4RNICK suggests. A lot of people bashing Lyon, but his record is decent. He can hardly be as bad as many here are suggesting. His average is only fractionally worse than Anderson and Morkel's. Again, I must be living in a parallel universe, because the data I'm reading just doesn't fit the human descriptions being broadcast in this sector. Beam me up!

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

Teams playing weighted bowling attacks in the past - thinking Sri Lanka playing at home - have either had everything go to plan, or have things fall in a dreadful heap. India will be taking a VERY big gamble if they play only one seamer. In my opinion, a balanced attack is always a better option, as it gives you flexibility to adjust your plans should the opposition adapt to your tactics. Australia haven't faired well against spin in their opening tour games, but they have always been a savvy team in terms of developing and executing strategies. And with Michael Clarke in the captain's role and Micky Arthur as coach, no doubt they would have done their homework on how their team can play spin well. If the Australian batsmen overcome India's spin attack, it will be very difficult for India to win this test match, especially if they don't bat first.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 22, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

I'm very much on the fence as to who I want to win and who will win. As an England fan, I want both teams to lose. I don't mean that maliciously; just it enhances England's position against each side if that side loses. Currently, England's position against Australia is the more important. While conditions will obviously be very different here compared to both the upcoming Ashes series, anything that dents Australia's confidence beforehand can only be good for England. It's always hard to draw too much from a warmup game but the 4-day game against India A hints at Australia's performance against spin and lack of quality spin of their own as a potential issue. That said, James Anderson showed what a good seamer can achieve in India and I expect the Australian seamers to perform at a higher level than Broad and Bresnan did for England. Everyone has a lot to prove. Bring it on. Also, good to see the comments relatively civil so far. Let's enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 22, 2013, 2:44 GMT)

I think that the Spin v Pace headline for this article is spot on. .. That's exactly what this match will get down to. Blind Freddy could see that India has the advantage on what is expected to be a turning track. .. No argument there. We could go down faster than a DC-10 with our pace attack. .. on the other hand, there is proof positive that it can be done. . I vividly remember years ago Kapil Dev destroyed us with beautiful pace bowling on a pitch that was turning square. .. Richard Hadlee did it to us a few times as did Wasim Akram. .. our very own Damien Flemming was excellent on a low, slow featherbed and I'm sure there are many other bowlers who could do it. .. the only question for me is "Can our current bowlers do it". .. I'm quietly confident they will, but I certainly wouldn't put my house on it.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 2:36 GMT)

Best wishes for both teams!.. I hope Indians will win this series because of being a better batting side. Sachin and Sehwag will score big hundreds. The Indian spinners will be the match winners.. Good luck to Team India...

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 22, 2013, 2:16 GMT)

@ Michael_Sheridon: "Anyone else think its dangerous that we have named there team a few days out from the test? If the pitch isn't a rank turner it surely will be now." .. the thought did cross my mind. In the end I figured it was always going to be bunsen anyway so no harm done. .. @ steve19191: "It´s a shame all in all as test cricket needs these teams to be strong, alas we only have the saffers and Poms to provide the quality at the moment." .. actually steve, there is only one quality team at the moment. ... S.A. They are 6 points clear of England who are mighty 1 point ahead of Aus. .. I haven't checked this, but I imagine that if Aus. somehow manages to win the series we will overtake your lot for second best. .. and thus Englands slide down the greasy pole will continue.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 1:44 GMT)

Just as many commented....Ashwin and Bajji are capable 7th and 8th batsmen and quality bowlers. I don't see how Jadeja should be in the team. He is a capable 13th player 12th being Rahane. Playing 3 spinners and a so called spinning alrounder doesnt make any sense. Bring in B kumar or even worst case Dinda but it will be a worst team composition if they have 1 fast bowler and 3 spinners and a spinning alrounder.

Posted by TRAM on (February 22, 2013, 1:43 GMT)

We have seen how the Indian bowlers have ripped the opposition haven't we?? Here are the strengths (speciality): Harbajan:Doosra, Ashwin:Carrom, Ohja&Jadeja:shear consistent&tidy, Bhuvaneshwar: swinging ball delivered at the "corridor of uncertainty". Ishant:????? Can any one help? Yorker, shear pace, great bouncer, swing, seam, deceptive slower balls...anything at all ???? Has he EVER taken 3 top order wickets in one innings?? (please dont tell me he "troubled" Ricky Ponting a decade back. Time has moved a lot since).

Posted by AndyPowell on (February 22, 2013, 1:28 GMT)

Much has been made of Australia's top four and its perceived weakness. I think they will go ok. I have more reservations about the batters below Clarke. Iamgine a scenario where Aus are 4 down at lunch on the last day. Would you back Wade, Henrigues and the bowlers to bat out for a draw?

Posted by cricbranthan on (February 22, 2013, 1:21 GMT)

My probable eleven is sehwag,vijay,pujara,sachin,kohli,dhawan,dhoni,harbhajan,bhuvan,ishanth,ojha

I dont want 20 20 standards like ashwin,jadeja,rahane ,dinda ...sent them to overseas to promote cricket...jadeja and ashwin doesnt know their role in the team and what they are capable of ...ashwin can be used as a batman instead of viru bhai (better than him)....I also think robin bist and unmukh chand can replace sachin sehwag in the future

Posted by amanroy on (February 22, 2013, 1:06 GMT)

There is no need to pick 3 spinners. Ashwin can be rested. Bhajji and Ojha should be there. Rahane ahead of Jadeja may be a good move.

Posted by torsha on (February 22, 2013, 0:58 GMT)

I hope Bhajji, Ojha, Bhuvi and Ishant as bowlers in playing XI. Don't pic 3 spinners. Bowling must be balanced.

Posted by BG4cricket on (February 22, 2013, 0:39 GMT)

Bit harsh on Wade - he'd certainly be picked by Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe & Sri Lanka :)

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 0:12 GMT)

Murli Vijay AGAIN?? this is not good.. and if 3 spinnners play then at 6, it has to be rahane for sure. because Jadeja is good with 2 spinners and him being the 3rd. So rahane at 6. I would rather see 2 spiners, 2 seamers and jadeja at 6 My playing xi... 1. Viru 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. SRT 5. Virat 6. Jadeja 7. MSD 8. Harbajan 9. Ishant 10. B. Kumar 11. Ojha LETS GO TEAM INDIA

Posted by andrew-schulz on (February 21, 2013, 23:59 GMT)

Front foot lunge, the fact remains this Australian side has the best record in Test cricket over the last two calendar years, yes better than South Africa, which two teams have had a very close contests over 5 Tests home and away over that period. Australia had the better of 3 of them. Comparing their home series against South Africa with England's last year flies in the face of your persistent analysis. It wasn't Australia who lost a Test by an innings while claiming only 2 opposition wickets.

Posted by ozzipom on (February 21, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

Although this may sound strange from a die hard Pommie, all the best to the Aussies. They've seen how we trounced them 2 months ago, now they must follow suit. Long may the fall of India continue.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 23:39 GMT)

Why call for tendulkar to retire? Every test he plays, everyone asks weather it will be his last. Let him play we need him!

Posted by pommy80 on (February 21, 2013, 23:33 GMT)

India will be clear favourites with no DRS. England nearly lost the series with many shocking decisions going against them. Lets hope Australia don't have the same luck.

Posted by El_Toro_Loco on (February 21, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

"Spin Vs Pace"? What Aussies bowling attack against Aussie batsmen in this game? Cuz india neither has spin nor pace bowling attack. It'll be a run fest for Aussies & another whitewash for india, this time on their own home ground. Ciao....

Posted by Temuzin on (February 21, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

Jadeja should play. His spin bowling will be very handy and his fielding and batting is bonus. Infact he should play at number 4 along with Pujara at number 3. These two have been making huge contributions when they played together. Dhoni should bring in all oldies at number 7 and 8.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 21, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

Shan156 - If we're looking through the same rose colored glasses as you, we could easily say Australia bats to 10 (the number 10 Pattinson is averaging higher in test cricket than indias latest wonder boy Kohli). Sehwag and Tendulkar are well past there prime and recent record shows they are troubled by good quality pace bowling, Kohli averages 37, Dhoni averages well below Wade, Jadeja and Ashwin have rarely troubled Australia and H Singh is a spent force. Looks like it will be a long tour for India. The reality is both teams have there issues, but as Australia have shown against more well credentialed teams like South Africa they are fighters and when it comes to test cricket they always give 100%. Not sure the same about India - but they can be brilliant on there day and when confident. I think it will be an intriguing test series and either side could win. Front-Foot-Lunge; Look at the number 6 batsman around the world not too many teams have a batsman better than Wade.

Posted by funkybluesman on (February 21, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

One curious thing with Ishant is that his test record is much better at home than away. For most players you would expect that, but for an Indian fast bowler regularly playing the lone fast bowler surrounded by spinners on really spin friendly decks, you'd think he'd enjoy more success travelling away to places like Australia, South Africa and England that have much more pace friendly conditions.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (February 21, 2013, 22:16 GMT)

@Nampally - pretty much on target view of Indian needing to play two seamers. However, I am not so sure of playing Shewag at #5. He is not a good spin player any more. Besides his temperament suits well for opening. Rahane was exposed in handling incoming pacy delivery. He can easily be sorted out by Aussie bowlers. I am also not convinced that Ashwin is a better option over Bhajji. Bhajji these days is more talk than substance and Ashwin has been average lately. I would favor Jadeja as a leg spinner over Ojha. He was very effective in the ODIs.

Posted by Mervo on (February 21, 2013, 21:51 GMT)

On any normal wicket with balance for cricketers of all skills, I would back Australia to white wash India again. But this is India's last throw of the face-saving dice to produce a wicket/s that play half the game (spin only). It will only delay the inevitable for them. This will be the goodbye for Sachin, Sewag and a few others. Play the game properly boys and let's not turn average spinners into 'world beaters' when they aren't. Face the future and develop your whole team.

Posted by SUNDHUR on (February 21, 2013, 21:44 GMT)

All the Best, Indian Team!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 21, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

@ wolf777: "So, two off spinners and two (potentially) left arm orthodox...Why?" --- Ojha, even Ashwin at times (even though his fielding is appalling) are proven test-quality spinners. They were outclassed by Swann and Panesar in the recent series, but they are exceptional spinners, and the Indian management were reluctant to try out new spin talent as the series progressed. India has so much spin bowling talent waiting in the wings, that a chop-and-change after the 1st test is easily achievable. They also know that Australia don't have any effective spin options to speak of both on and off the field, their complete lack of depth is in the starkest contrast to India.

Posted by bijumonssss on (February 21, 2013, 21:06 GMT)

bhuvi should be in 11 he need a good run sure he can produce some super sonic swing bowling!!!!! all the best to team india . waiting for a fabulous test match when 9.30 am will come??????? ! lol

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 21, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

This is a make-or-break series for many players in both teams. Should be very interesting! Bring it on...

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 21, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

I prefer sehwag comes after sachin than opening. Dhoni listen , Your job amplify people contribution by placing them where they can excel. Sehwag becomes old and his eye sight is not good now. He may be adamant that he will play the way he plays but you are in charge. Move him to middle order immediately. India will win if dhoni follows my advice. If not ...disaster again.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 20:32 GMT)

My team would be - Rahane/Dhawan, Sehwag, Pujara, SRT, Kohli, Dhoni, Harbhajan, Ashwin, B Kumar, Ishant, Ojha. There's no way I would have Vijay in playing 11. He is lucky to be even on the bench with the kind of form he has shown lately. Harbhajan and Ashwin together are capable seventh batsman in indian conditions. Kumar needs an opportunity at the right time of his career to play. Warming bench has shown dip in form for Rahane already. Jadeja is no way a capable player against a good cricketing side for tests as yet.

Posted by Desihungama on (February 21, 2013, 20:17 GMT)

Hey, All the best India for the series. From Pak fan. And congrats to Harbhajhan for his 100th Test cap.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

both teams are second tier teams ,they will not challenge for#1 for a while.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 21, 2013, 19:57 GMT)

@ Charlie101, You're absolutely right Wade wouldn't get into any other test team, and is not a number 6 bat. I'm stuggling to see any other options though aren't you? Haddin would be a much better bet.

Posted by talkcric.com on (February 21, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

India's pace woes will be forgotten with spin dictating this match. Th Ausies will be toiling in the heat and India winning on the 4th day. The toss does't matter as the spinners will be the only cutting edge here. Pressure of Mr Dhoni for once.

Posted by Nampally on (February 21, 2013, 19:54 GMT)

Dhoni will be making a big blunder if he plays with 4 spinners + 1 seamer. It will match his Sydney test blunder where he played 4 seamers. The bowling attack has to be balancede.g., Ishant, B.Kumar + Ashwin, Ojha & Jadeja/Harbhajan. This leaves India with just 5 batsmen who are likely to be Vijay, Sehwag, Pujara, Tendulkar & Kohli with Dhoni batting #6. Better alternative is to play Sehwag #5 & have Dhawan & Vijay open the innings - India will go in with 4 specialist bowlers + 7 batsmen. Batting Sehwag later will allow testing New openers + See if Sehwag fits in @#5. If a second off spinner is needed Sehwag can do the job.Chepauk will only assist spinners on days 4 & 5. Hence it is best to go with 2 seamers. B.Kumar with his swing bowling can get the openers. Ishant has also fitness problems & cannot carry the seamer's role alone - unless Dhoni once again uses Kohli's up & down rubbish to supplement seam bowling.More Action & Less Mouthing off is better but Bhajji is blowing hot air!

Posted by johnal on (February 21, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

hi interesting series the young indian batsmen vs the aussies pace attack . my team will be v.shewag m.vijay. v.kholi.c.pujara.s.tendulkar.m. dhoni.r.jadeja r.ashwin.p.ojha.i .sharma.b,kumar. much will depend on shewag at the top. pujara kholi.sachin and dhoni,ojha and ashwin have a major job here vs the aussies batsmen hoping for a keen good fight .one point on the D. R. S. i think india is right watch how many problems its causing in south africa with the pastanis . and recently in australia with the west indies . get it right first. salim from trinidad&tobago

Posted by wolf777 on (February 21, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

So, two off spinners and two (potentially) left arm orthodox...Why?

Posted by Temuzin on (February 21, 2013, 19:29 GMT)

Posted by Ankur Saini on (February 21, 2013, 18:23 GMT) @cricketsunami - Sachin at #7, and Jadeja at #4? I hope 7 is your age as well to make that remark - that will be the only saving grace for that comment.

Good to know Ankur that you can read...Since you are not very civil who can repect others opinion, I would like to tell you that playing Sachin has some cricketing logic. First it will give new players exposure to bat up front and show what they got.n If they fail Sachin and Dhoni can salvage situation. This way they can prepare youngsters to take responsibility of making runs. And also the old man will be saved from new balls and can make a lot of run at that position. Get out of emotion kid and learn some cricket.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 19:20 GMT)

I still don't agree with three spinners option, better go with 2 quickies and 2 spinners, it will be good combination, and replace Jaddu with Rahena. My playing XI -1.Vijay, 2.Veeru, 3 Pujara, 4 SRT, 5 Virat, 6 Dhoni, 7 Rahena, 8 Ashwin, 9 Bhuwanesh, 10 Ishanth, 11 Ohja

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 21, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

Umpires HDPK Dharmasena and M Erasmus TV umpire VA Kulkarni Match referee BC Broad Reserve umpire K Srinath

Poor Core Of Umpire and NO DRS ridiculous...

Posted by Baseball-Sucks on (February 21, 2013, 18:56 GMT)

Its gonna be another devastating failure for India. With their mediocre bowling attack and out of form batting line-up, They will lose the series 0-2 in favor of Aussies( I guess they will manage to draw 2 matches. ) So this is gonna be a successful tour for Aussies and Clarke will prove all those doubters that he can still win with out Ponting or Hussey. Go Aussies !!!!

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 21, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

Harbhajan Singh vs Michael Clarke A battle between two men who stand on the threshold of very important points in their careers. Harbhajan Singh will play his 100th Test while Clarke will face an acid test as he leads his team out for the first time in India. Often dubbed as one of the hardest places to tour, Clarke will have his hands full against a buoyed up 'turbanator'. Clarke, inarguably, Australia's best player of spin in the current line up will have to lead the way with the bat. Harbhajan has 39 wickets at 26.56 at Chepauk and is someone known to deliver big against Australia. His battle against Australia's skipper and key batsman could set the tone for the series....

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 21, 2013, 18:54 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar vs Peter Siddle "He's just another batsman," said Peter Siddle after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar twice in Melbourne when India went Down Under in 2011. Not everyone will have the confidence to say that about the highest run-getter of all time but Siddle has earned some bragging rights. He has dismissed he master batsman 4 times in 10 innings. The man with a record 11 Test hundreds against Australia is yet to get one when Siddle is present in the opposition ranks. This will be no ordinary arena though. The MA Chidambaram stadium is where Tendulkar has scored 5 hundreds, more than any other venue. The happy hunting ground is bound to bring back good memories. Will the ageing superstar be able to do it one more time against one of the fiercest and fittest fast bowlers in the world???

Posted by Vinnni on (February 21, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

I think this will be the line up: V.Shewag,S.Dhawan,C.Pujara,S.Tendulkar,V.Kohli,M.Dhoni,R.Jadeja,R.Ashwin,H.Singh,B.Kumar,I.Sharma. Hope india bats first and sachin scores a century:-)

Posted by ShreJ on (February 21, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

if they are gonna go with 3 specialist spinners, there would be no point of jadeja. but i dont think that they should go with 3 specialist spinners. they should leave ashwin for a bit as he hasnt been performing well as of late and give bhuvneshwar kumar a chance in this test, it will give dhoni flexibility with the bowlers. and then keep jadeja as the 3rd spin option.

Posted by landl47 on (February 21, 2013, 18:40 GMT)

The reason this game is so fascinating is because the sides are so different. Australia has gone all out for pace to try and blow India away and has sacrificed depth and quality of batting and spin bowling to achieve that. It's a high risk strategy- brilliant if it works, easy to second guess if it doesn't. Still, if the last 2 years has taught us anything, it is that Clarke can never be understimated, either as a batsman or a captain. He'll need all his skills in both capacities to pull this one off.

India has a mixture of youth and experience in the side, which raises questions. Are Sehwag, Tendulkar and Bhaji still capable of test quality performances? Are the youngsters good enough? In bowling, will India go in with 3 specialist spinners, one spinning allrounder and one seamer? It's a combination which is very rarely seen these days. Dhoni, like Clarke, will need to call on all his skill and experience to make it work.

It will be a really interesting test.

Posted by Charlie101 on (February 21, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

I can not understand the team selection for 3 reasons 1. Watson is an all rounder and if he can not bowl then he should not be selected . 2. Wade would not get in any other test team at number 6 - he should bat at 7 . 3. Playing Henriques means you are playing 2 all rounders in the team.

The Aussie team is very light in the batting and assuming Warner and Hughes will both bat agressively it might be either spectacular or a disaster.I am looking forward to checking the scores tomorrow.

Posted by vigneshvinu on (February 21, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

Its foolish thing to play with all four spinners,as ishant sharma is not a wicket taking fast bowler.just we need to think what has happened in nagpur test against england, Since Aussies has 6 left handers and india is willing to play with jadeja then they have to drop ojha,and pick bhuvanesh simply because clarke who is in fine form is struggling against in swingers and bhuvanesh is good in it.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 21, 2013, 18:38 GMT)

Sachin too old to see the ball now, especially fast bowling. Aussie pace bowlers to end his career. why doesnt he just retire gracefully?

Posted by JG2704 on (February 21, 2013, 18:35 GMT)

Have mixed feelings about who I want to win. Pre series I was thinking Aus would win but I wonder what the pitches will be like and if Australia may have made a mistake in not selecting 2 spinners ?

Posted by Temuzin on (February 21, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

Posted by Raja Jayaraman on (February 21, 2013, 11:45 GMT) Are you comparing Rahane to Jadeja O MY GOD sure rahane 100 % better then Jadeja.

In what sense? Rahane is 100% better? 1. In fielding-jadeja is a live wire, 2. Bowling? Rahne cant even bowl donkey drops, Jadeja is far superior bowler that rahane can not ever be. 3. Batting? Rahane hasn't set the world on fire. All the chances he got has been wasted and there is a little between these two. Give Jadeja a chance at number 4 and let's see who is better.

Posted by NLS1 on (February 21, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

It will be very tiresome to watch Indian bowling in this test. Two rubbish spinners, one who is 'half okay' and one club class medium pacer. Irrespective of the result it will be an emotional drain for Indian fans.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 18:23 GMT)

@cricketsunami - Sachin at #7, and Jadeja at #4? I hope 7 is your age as well to make that remark - that will be the only saving grace for that comment.

@Batmanindallas - Totally agree. Playing 3-4 spinners is not only stupid but also shows a lack of faith in your front-line spinners. If they're simply not good enough to rip through sides on spinner-friendly tracks, chuck them! Bad tactics all around. I would play Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in place of Jadeja/Rahane and hope that between Harbhajan, Ashwin, and Bhuvaneshwar - we can muster up the runs we were looking from Jadeja/Rahane.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 21, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

If India plays the probable XI in this article, they will have batting till #9. Except Rahane/Jadeja, everyone else has test centuries to their names and even Jadeja has couple of triple hundreds in FC cricket. That is a mighty strong batting line-up. The Aussies have their work cut out in the next few weeks. The Aussie seam attack is strong but not sure how much the conditions would help them. If their stars, Starc and Pattinson, don't strike early, then it is curtains for Aus.

With 3 spinners spinning cobwebs around the Aussie batsmen in helpful conditions (even Ashwin would be a handful with all those left handers in the Aussie side), it looks like this is going to be a long tour for Australia.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 21, 2013, 18:09 GMT)

Good move to include Harbhajan in the XI. It was expected. Harbhajan's fantastic record against Australia, and the Chennai pitch expected to take a lot of turn from the word go, must have persuaded the selectors to include Harbhajan ahead of the talented young seamer Bhuvanesh Kumar. Harbhajan may be an average spinner outside the SC but at home, he is among the best. Say Harbhajan picks up a lot of wickets and India wins this test, would the Indian selectors continue their selection of 3 spinners/1 seamer and prepare turning tracks for the rest of the series or would they consider giving Bhuvanesh a go and drop another spinner (Ashwin, most probably)? Time will tell. For now, this is the start of an exciting series and may the best team win.

Posted by Temuzin on (February 21, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

I think playing XI for first test sould be: 1.Dhawan 2.Rahane 3. Pujara 4 Jadeja 5. Virat 6. MSD 7.Sachin 8.Ashwin 9. Bhuvi 10. Bhajji 11. Ishant. I am putting sachine at 7 to give youngsters a chance to perform and if they fail Sachin should stabilize innings with Dhoni. Jadeja and Pujara should play as pack. They have good understanding of each others game and make a wonderful combo to bat together.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

time for the epic series to begin and chennai has often hosted test matches but none more important and as crutial as this one is because of indias lack of victories at the test level. there are some important players on which the team will depend. Players like michel clarke and shane watson will be essntial to their fourtunes and for the indians there is virender shewag and sachin ramesh tendulkar. they are the guys that will determine the outcome of this series to a certain extent

Posted by peddy123 on (February 21, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

ma playing XI : sehwag vijay pujara sachin kohli m.s.dhoni rahane ashwin ojha b.kumar ishant

Posted by Batmanindallas on (February 21, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

That is just dumb to play 3 or 4 spinners it is just an overkill. It is not like these guys have the variety of say Venkat and Prassana -or elite spinners like Bedi and Chandra. I feel this will blow up in India's face. If Jadeja plays is he not the all rounder spinner and then play one more pace bowler to support always breaking down and still developing Sharma??

Posted by IndvsEngseries on (February 21, 2013, 17:53 GMT)

India is going to win this test and series easily as Aussies cannot play spin

Posted by Crick_Expert on (February 21, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar just blocking/wasting time for new players, he should BYE to cricket NOW !

Posted by binu.emiliya on (February 21, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

My eleven: Shewag with glass , Vijay/ Dhawan, Pujara,Sachin,Kohli,Dhoni,Jadeja/Aswin,Harbhajan,Bhuvi,Ishanth, Ohja

Sehwag with glass( new avathar) and Dhoni may play crucial roles and Bhuvi will make his debut great as ODI match against PAK

Posted by SoorajPA on (February 21, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

India must play two pace bowlers and three spinners with bhajji doing allrounder's spot in place of Jadeja. Australia will not miss Doherty as Clarke is more than capable as left hand spin option, remember his 6/9 spell at mumbai!!!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

1.sehwag 2.vijay/rahane 3.pujara 4.srt 5.kohli 6.dhoni 7.bhajji 8.aswin/jadeja 9.ojha 10.kumar 11.sharma

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 21, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

I am glad with the all-rounder picked. Maxwell is a spinner by name only. I don't think you should pick him as a spinner just because he calls himself one. The truth is, we are currently struggling to pick one specialist spinner, let alone two. We simply don't have the cattle.Henriques has been bowling reverse swing - another weapon apart from spin on Indian wickets - and took 4 top order wickets in the tour game, so I think the selectors are feel like there might be more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. Khawaja will get his chance later in the series and he will be key for us. However if it was up to me I would have assumed that picking a seaming all-rounder meant we picked 2 frontline quicks.I would have thought the balance would be 6 batsmen, a keeper, a spinner, 2 quicks, and an all-rounder.The batting has been a concern, yet we're shortening it? I hope i am wrong but i think the batting will get caught out...

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 21, 2013, 17:01 GMT)

Agree with most of the comment that on tour form Henriques deserves his spot. But.As soon as we decided to play 3quicks, plus Lyon, plus Clarke/Warner as back up,I don't see that he'll be getting much bowling.3 quicks should get plenty of rest in between spells. Or, if he does bowl a bit, that means one of the quicks is a wasted selection. So to me, the balance is wrong.If Henriques isn't likely to bowl much, then surely his spot should go to Khawaja. Which then drops Wade down to 7, which is far better balanced. Unless of course the selectors are saying they rate Henriques as a better bat than Khawaja, which is surely dubious if that's their thinking.I could understand the "all rounder" selection better if it was instead of one of the quicks, or if it was a spinner, because then at least we know he'd get plenty of overs. Time to give Khawaja a fair crack&stop finding excuses not to pick him. But m happy that they haven't picked Maxwell just because he bowls spin,Coz He yet to prove FC

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 21, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

Unbelievable that Bhajji is running his mouth with 4-0 predictions, you'd think a man who has played 99 Tests would be wiser. He's lucky to be playing his 100th, it's almost a sympathy move as Indian cricket loves stats and he becomes the 10th such player, almost all the players in the lists played too many games.

There's nothing wrong with having a fantastic Test career that lasted 85 Tests but as soon as an Indian player gets close to a milestone of 100, there's a push to achieve that milestone at the cost of the team.

Pretty much all the Indian fans will agree that since being dropped Harbhajan has done NOTHING to prove he should be in the squad, never mind the starting XI.

Posted by samincolumbia on (February 21, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

Wow...Vijay, Ishant, Ashwin, Jadeja, Harbhajan. Another 4-0 humiliation...not for the aussies, but for India. I predict Vijay getting out without even reaching double figures in all the 4 matches, if he is persisted with (thanks to his Chennai Kings connections). Hope sense prevails and Dhawan and Bhuvi gets to play!

Posted by sandp641 on (February 21, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

series prediction aus 3 ind 0 mos---------hughes mom--------warner,clarke,pattinson reason for failure 1,ashwin is not good .he is completly waste in test arena 2,kohli is not a good test player at this stage 3 sachin ,sehwag is also not good enough now 4 coach is also not good enough after series fleming will take charge as a coach

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 21, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

No DRS, good luck Australia !!!! Mark my words there will once again be poor umpire decisions that cannot be reversed, yet they still refuse to use technology - unbelievable.

Posted by hariharan_cricinfo on (February 21, 2013, 16:13 GMT)

My Playing XI would be: 1.Sehwag 2.Vijay 3.Pujara 4.Sachin 5.Virat 6.MSD 7.Jadeja 8.Ashwin 9.Bhuvi 10.Bhajji 11.Ishant

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

Ausies are doing same mistake as England did in there 1st test by not picking 2 spinners in there team... and proceeding....

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:49 GMT)

We Indian fans should not jump the gun. Let us not forget the fact, currently we do not have any spinner, of even Monty's or Swann's caliber, let alone Ajmal's class.

Neither do we have a pacer of the calibre of Jimmy Anderson.

Our best batsmen, undoubtedly are still Sehwag & Sachin; but neither of them had shown any form for quite some time... to put it too mildly. (They don't even 'read' the line well, anymore. Correction glasses may help or hinder. Sachin who seems to need it even more has not even considered it -- no disrespect to either of these two all-time greats. Do we have our own versions of a 'Cook' or 'Amla', who can take on the Aussie pacers well? The only batsman who showed some class and steady form was Pujara. Unbelievably, our next most reliable batsman had been one Ashwin, who is supposed to be our leading spinner.

Do I need to say more, before we start our, often unfounded pre-match bragging'!

My best bet is Chennai pitch, which will be our 'man of the match' !

Posted by CoolCharlie on (February 21, 2013, 15:47 GMT)

India should go in with Jadeja and 2 best spinners and ishant and bhuvneshwar . this will be a very well balanced attack. bhuvneshwar can prove useful since playing 3 spinners will make one of them redundant. You never need 3 spinners. Also with Jadeja we have extra flexibility in both balling and bating. It will be ridiculous to go in with 3 spinners and just one pacer.

Posted by anton_ego on (February 21, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

I think the plan to play 3 spinners will back fire on India. Because it robs of the spinners' basic desire to bowl long spells and shows how unsettled Indian spin department is. I had never heard of any big Test wins achieved with 3 spinners, atleast in the the last 2 or 3 decades. It creates monotony in the attack and it prepares the batsmen well to face spinners when the ball gets old. If Aus bat first and apply themselves well during the first day, then it will either end up as a tame draw or if Aus pacers achieve reverse-swing, it ll be a one-way traffic. 2 pacers, 2 spinners with Jadeja as spinning all-rounder is the best choice for me.

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 21, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

Bhajji is out of form, Ashwin is out of form, Viru is out of form, SRT is out of form (dont count Irani as form), Vijay is out of form (dont count A match as form), Kholi is out of form, Jadeja is average, Ohja is okay, Ishant is permanetly in comeback mode that leaves only CP and MSD who are still in decent form!!! PHEW

Posted by realfan on (February 21, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

please team india i want to see the debut match of rahane so badly.... he is benched too long for a test player.....my 11 will be.... viru, rahane, pujara, sachin, virat, dhoni, jadeja, harbajan(only for 1st match ) bhuvaneshwar, ojah, ishant...

jadeja is much better batsmen, bowler, fielder, sportsman than ashwin....jadeja is better cricketer than ashwin.....

Posted by vathabivaranan on (February 21, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

It is strange everybody says Australia has only one spinner. If the pitch is a turner, Clark's left arm spin and Warner's leg break bowling will be doing more than something!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

i'm afraid bhajji is putting too much of pressure on himself by useless talk.....he better do his tricks on the pitch rather than in front of the camera

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Just out of curiosity. Has any team ever entered an international Test match WITHOUT any pace bowlers? (Is there any chance of history being made in Chennai, tomorrow morning?. With the top four batsmen in the Australian team being ex/current openers, I am not willing to rule out that possibility, as 'totally' ridiculous. Partially, yes! )

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

Playing 11 will be sehwag, vijay, pujara, sachin, kohli, dhoni, ashwin, bhajji, b kumar, ishant, ojha/jadeja, so that we have 2 quicks and 3 spinners, The team will be in good balance

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

Please MYhumble request to MSD is that he should play both bhuvi and ishant

Posted by SnowSnake on (February 21, 2013, 15:04 GMT)

This is evenly matched unpredictable series. I think Harbhajan may be valued more for his batting in case there is a usual early slump against fast bowling. More important than the series, all eyes will be set on Tendulkar this time around. This series will test his future. With four tests and adequate time off, anything less than an average of 30 means a good bye and retirement. He has taken for ever to get to his 100th 100 followed by a prolong slump. Does he still got it? That is what I want to see in this series.

Posted by A.Ak on (February 21, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

How about this- if India have issues with lower middle order, then move Sehwag down the order and open with MVjay and Rahane/Dhawan OR should go with three spinners and Two fast bowlers.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:02 GMT)

I totally agree with sushils comment. I think India should go with five bowlers in Ishant, Bhuvneshwar, and three spinners in Bhajji, Ojha and Ashwin. Dhoni should bat at No6.... while Bhuvneshwar, Ashwin and Bhajji should share batting responsibilities at 7,8,9... This series is Indian batsmen v/s Australian pace attack.... If Indian batting clicks then series is won 4-0 otherwise .........................2-0 win for Aussies. Kohli should also prove himself now, that he is not an overrated player. and Rahane should open instead of Vijay... Vijay is a gamble at the top

Posted by QingdaoXI on (February 21, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

If Bhajji is playing it means no place for Jadeja and Tommorow 2 Indian Batsmen are suppose to debut Dhawan as opener and Rahane as middle order batsmen to handled 2nd new ball. It will bring great balance too the team and if Kohli fails in first 2 matches drop him as well as wastage jadeja and bring in Rohit and Rayudu in squad and haan Please bring back Sreesanth in place of Dinda too. Dinda is a waste he is only good in Domestic matches.

Posted by MadhushaDmendis on (February 21, 2013, 14:54 GMT)

Indian batsman have great responsibilty ,, if they scored big score aussies will go down

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 21, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

End of the road for Statchin, at last. Some honest youngster will now be able to play cricket for India in this elephant's place.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (February 21, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

If the surface is as grassless as made out to be, then there should be a lot of reverse swing also. It promises to be an even test. In my opinion Australia has the edge.

Posted by Haleos on (February 21, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

No Vijayi please........Hope dhawan gets a chance.

Posted by OzWally on (February 21, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

Only the most optimistic of Australian fans would have a good feeling going into this game. Even when Australia was at it's peak they struggled to win in India. I understand picking 3 seamers, you pick the bowlers you believe will get you 20 wickets, it just makes you wonder why Doherty was selected in the first place.

The only light on the horizon is that England also struggled in their tour games and lost the 1st test before finding their feet. This young Australian team is going to have to grow up very quickly indeed if they hope to achieve anything close to a series win.

Posted by myStraightTalk on (February 21, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Australia will always do better then England in handling the spinner. We had seen how Ashwin and Ojha failed with England... they will know how to handle Harbhajan....Sachin is still under pressure..Ishant will bowl in good length without taking wicket and still will be in team. .. If Ausralia can draw then it will be a big blow to Dhoni team here.

Posted by steve19191 on (February 21, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

Should be a well matched series between these second rate test teams. If Clarke and Watson can score big they might well nick it if they don´t India will instead shade it.

Both teams bowling is average at best and the batting well the batting inspires no confidence at all.

It´s a shame all in all as test cricket needs these teams to be strong, alas we only have the saffers and Poms to provide the quality at the moment.

Posted by sushils on (February 21, 2013, 14:33 GMT)

I think India should go with five bowlers in Ishant, Bhuvneshwar, and three spinners in Bhajji, Ojha and Ashwin. Dhoni should bat at No6.... while Bhuvneshwar, Ashwin and Bhajji should share batting responsibilities at 7,8,9... This series is Indian batsmen v/s Australian pace attack.... If Indian batting clicks then series is won 4-0 otherwise .........................2-0 win for Aussies. Kohli should also prove himself now, that he is not an overrated player. and Rahane should open instead of Vijay... Vijay is a gamble at the top againt Starc and Siddle..... Lets see tommorrow what happens.. ???

Posted by AKS286 on (February 21, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

don't overrate indian bowlers like B.kumar he is useless in test & ashwin too. remember Junaid khan how well he bowl, junaid & irfan are thrashed in SA. so every player perform different against different team. except Dernbach, patel, lyon, albie, maclaren, wade, some more and whole WI team consistant flop performance.

Posted by ShortGully on (February 21, 2013, 14:25 GMT)

I am expecting Rohit Sharma to debut and open innings tomorrow and No 7 to Ravindea jadeja. which makes 4 spinners and batting till Ashwin.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 21, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

All the Best Aussie.................

Posted by Azweer on (February 21, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

What i feel is Vijay the local boy can be more effective than Dhawan and in other confusion Jadeja can fill up the 5th bowler slot which is the most important problem india is facing in both tests and ODI's and he too can be in someway or the other can be named as Local boy through CSK....

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 21, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

Australia have a big challenge ahead of them. Too little experience in the batting department to put up a good score.

Posted by Rolling_in_The_Deep on (February 21, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

Looking forward to Bhajji's 100th test. He raises his game against Australia so his selection is a good decision. besides he is a good lower order biffer to get quick 20 30 runs.. good luck bhajii paa ji..

Posted by SillyMidPavilion on (February 21, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

My starting 11 - Cowan, Watson, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Maxwell, Wade, Siddle, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon. I'm not convinced about Warner's recovery. Give him until Hyderabad to make sure his hand's really up to scratch, elevate Watson to open with Cowan, and put Khawaja in at 4. As for bowling - Siddle in to bowl until the cows come home, Starc and Pattinson for wicket-taking ability. Also leaves a second paceman when someone breaks down. For spin, Lyon with Maxwell as backup. Maxwell is also a better bat than Henriques. Unfortunately, the Aussies have already chosen their 11. At least I'll be too busy working this weekend to see us fail utterly playing 4 seamers on a spinning pitch.

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 21, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

Anyone else think its dangerous that we have named there team a few days out from the test? If the pitch isn't a rank turner it surely will be now. Wouldn't suprise me if India picked 3 spinners, especially after the batting in the India A game.Doherty should of never gone to India and I think the NSP realise he is a gamble to play as the Indians will have a field day with his bowling hence Henriques selection. I like Henriques and have nothing against him, its just ashame we don't have a spinning all rounder option which would make more sense. Maybe Uzzie should start learning to bowl spin, maybe then the NSP will give him a look in India though i do remember his getting Sangakara out in the chairman's X1, seriously we have to give this kid a fair go at test level.Anyway I hope we did well, I am just worried this pitch will not give enought to our quicks and will struggle to take 20 wickets. Hopefully Lyon can step out and do well in the conditions. Big ask for Wade to bat 6 t

Posted by Vishal63 on (February 21, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

What has Dinda done to get the Test call-up? NOTHING. Time we select a GOOD team.

Posted by Vishal63 on (February 21, 2013, 13:29 GMT)

I don't think that Ishant Sharma is even capable of taking two wickets in the match. If we go in with 4-5 bowlers, each bowler needs to take at least 4-5 wickets out of the 20 in the match. Ishant Sharma will definitely fail in this task whereas the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar wouldn't. It's definitely time to see Bhuvneshwar Kumar as a regular and let him start tomorrow. The only way we'll win is for us to use our common sense. This is the main XI that should have been chosen for the tour: |1 Wasim Jaffer, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Pragyan Ojha, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Shami Ahmed| Yes I feel that it's time we shape it like an ODI squad. Sachin to open would bring more runs and it's time that Ashwin faces the axe. All he does is drain runs but he doesn't take wickets. If India went in with that squad, I'd be sure before the match even started that we would see an Indian win.

Posted by Ramski1 on (February 21, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

India's tactics will remain the same - turning tracks and 2-3 spinners. The came unstuck against England because for the first time a touring side had an equal or possibly superior spin bowling attack.

Australia have a poor spin bowling attack, so India's tactics should work as they traditionally do.

The series has not received the normal hype because everyone knows that these are 2 mediocre teams. If India wins it doesnt tell us anything or prove anything, and if Australia wins then it just tells us how bad India have sunk.

The only real interest in this series will be weather SRT can get back in the runs. As a neutral i would love to see another tendulkar masterclass. He will be missed when he does finally call it a day. How many times has he proved the doubters wrong?

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 21, 2013, 13:21 GMT)

Clarke says: "we're a different team to England". You certainly are, well noticed Mr Holmes. You very much different from the team that whitewashed Aus last year and has won every Ashes in recent memory. And lets not get into a player v player comparison, shall we? Quite a difference.

Posted by Vishal63 on (February 21, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

India: (most likely) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Ajinkya Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Pragyan Ojha

Posted by MeijiMura on (February 21, 2013, 13:07 GMT)

'We're a different team to England,' Michael Clarke said it all really. England had two world-class spinners on their tour of India, Australia have none.

Posted by thegreatkeeper on (February 21, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

The inclusion of Harbhajan means that Jadeja is going to be dropped after just one test match.Most probably the XI will be: Vijay;Sehwag;Pujara;Tendulkar;Kohli;Rahane;Dhoni;Ashwin;Harbhajan;Ishant;Ojha

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

I feel Harbhajan is picked purely because of so many left-hander batsman in the AUS team. For similar reasons, jadeja does not bring anything better than Rahane since we already have Ojha. Get in Rahane and bat the Aussies out. Jadeja is not going to score against Aussies.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

I agree that India should start playing specialist spinners and specialist pace bowlers. We cannot depend upon Jadeja who cannot be counted as a very good bowler or very good batsman. He is definitely a very good fielder.

Posted by thegreatkeeper on (February 21, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

@Kishankumar BCCI confirmed that Rahane is seen as a middle order batsman.That's why they picked both Vijay and Dhawan.

Posted by Beertjie on (February 21, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

Agree @Prakmca on (February 21, 2013, 12:06 GMT) Why continue with Ishant? Surely Bhuvneshwar Kumar may be more effective as he swings the ball. Rahane would be good in taking a tiring Australia apart especially in facing the second new ball. @Kishankumar on (February 21, 2013, 12:02 GMT) - that's also an out of the box idea.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

My playing eleven is Sehvag, Rahane, Pujara, ST, Kohli, Dhoni, Ashwin, Bhajji, Ishant, Ojha, Dinda.

Posted by Cricinforma on (February 21, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

Let the games roll, and let the ball spin. Okay, let the bat talk.... So, we have a game on our cricinfo screens coming up. Obviously the pitches are going to be spinner-friendly, but Australia has some power house in their batting. When those Aussie batsmen click on the day, expect fielders in the deep awaiting to catch the piece of cork covered in red leather. If those Aussie pace bowlers, bowl good enough they will manage picking up wickets. Let the ball fly in Chennai...

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

Jadaja is in form with both Bat and Bowl... He should be included..

Posted by Prakmca on (February 21, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

Harbajan, you better stop talking. You talk in the field when you bowl rather than giving above such statements. If they play Ishant ahead of Bhuvi, it's real foolish. everyone know what Ishant is capable of.

It's time to back the youngster.

Posted by rnmath on (February 21, 2013, 12:03 GMT)

Trust me, Tendulkar is gonna play his best series this time... Maybe this is his last home series. We are goinng to miss Tendulkarji Very Very much

Posted by Kishankumar on (February 21, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

How about playing Rahane & Vijay as openers, Sehwag at 5 and Kohli at 6? It might expose the middle order a bit sooner than expected, especially when Australia has a pace-led attack. But that is exactly the challenge, isn't it?

Posted by ABRULES on (February 21, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

Chennai will offer assistance to spin. i think we might see a repeat of 2001 series where Indian chased and won, If Warner plays he can be the Hayden this time and Bhaji is there...

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

Are you comparing Rahane to Jadeja O MY GOD sure rahane 100 % better then Jadeja

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

India should tryl Bhuvneshwar Kumar in place of Jadeja/Rahan bcz Bhajji, Ashwin and B.Kumar can fill 2 batsman slots..

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Tour Results
India v Australia at Delhi - Mar 22-24, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Mar 2-5, 2013
India won by an innings and 135 runs
India v Australia at Chennai - Feb 22-26, 2013
India won by 8 wickets
India A v Australians at Chennai - Feb 16-18, 2013
Match drawn
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News | Features Last 3 days