India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 3rd day February 24, 2013

More spinners is not the solution

It is easy to suggest that this Test slipped from Australia's grasp because they chose only one spinner. The truth is that nobody, fast or slow, could stop MS Dhoni on a day like this.
67

By stumps on the third day in Chennai, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and Moises Henriques had collectively taken 1 for 184. Only James Pattinson had defied the slow surface and posed a serious threat. Was a four-man pace attack a mistake? Surely on a dusty pitch like this two spinners were required? Yes, if they were two proven, world-class spinners. Like, say, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. But Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty? Or Lyon and Glenn Maxwell?

Lyon, the best slow bowler in Australia, left the ground with 3 for 182 on Sunday, an analysis that made Jason Krejza look miserly. Why should a lesser spinner have fared any better? The pitch offered turn but it did not do the work for the bowler. R Ashwin used challenging lengths and subtle variations to collect his seven wickets, but Harbhajan Singh had almost no impact. Collectively, Australia's pace unit averaged 54.60 per wicket in this innings. Lyon and the part-time spinners averaged 75.33.

The truth is that all of those numbers were skewed, and skewered, by MS Dhoni in the final session. For much of the day Australia were actually quite serviceable. Their first hour was sharp and precise, as the fast men built pressure with dot balls, and Lyon pounced with a ripping offbreak that bowled Sachin Tendulkar. They let Virat Kohli get away, but a few balls after tea the score was 372 for 7, and the game remained even.

And then they were Dhonied. Pace or spin, strike weapon or part-timer, everyone suffered at the hands of India's captain. But he hurt Lyon the most, taking him for 91 of his 206 runs at a strike-rate of 124.65. Dhoni put Lyon off his game. If he tossed the ball up, Dhoni drove him down the ground. If he went quicker and flatter, Dhoni worked the ball easily through gaps. Having another spinner would not have changed anything.

As the session wore on and Dhoni attacked Lyon, while effortlessly milking the fast men at will, Michael Clarke was left wondering what more he could do? He tried fielders in close, he tried them deep. His men came over the wicket, they came around. Frustratingly for Clarke, they missed several half-chances. There was a sharp return chance to Clarke, a six that Henriques might have reeled in had he found a better position on the boundary. A crisp flick that Cowan couldn't grasp at short leg. All tough, but all opportunities.

With each one, shoulders slumped a little more. And a slow over-rate meant an extra half hour in the field. That was one effect of the team selection that can be declared with certainty. After stumps, Kohli said he felt the inclusion of four fast men had played into India's hands.

"All of us were a bit surprised by that decision," Kohli said. "They had Xavier in the team as well, so we really thought he was going to play this game. We were really surprised to see three seamers ... which was a good thing for us on that wicket. We just decided to take advantage of that, because knowing these conditions you can only have those quick bowling spells. Those bursts, for like three or four overs, not more than that."

But India should know the value of playing to your strengths. At the WACA last January Australia chose four fast men on a quick, bouncy pitch. So did India. They ignored their forte, spin, and hoped the conditions would work for their seamers. Australia's bowlers were quick enough to exploit the pitch; India's were not. They lost within three days. By picking two spinners in Chennai, Australia would have been similarly ignoring their strength and relying on the pitch.

Historically that has not been a successful tactic for Australia. The Shane Warne-Gavin Robertson combination helped them win one Test in 1998, but they still lost two. The Brad Hogg-Peter McIntyre partnership in 1996 failed. As did the Warne-Colin Miller pairing in Chennai in 2001. And the Cameron White-Jason Krejza union in Nagpur in 2008.

The only Australia squad to win a Test series in India in the past 40 years, Adam Gilchrist's 2004 outfit, used only one spinner in each match. In that series, 63% of Australia's wickets came from the fast men. Another pace-oriented team, South Africa, have drawn their past two tours of India, and 79% of their wickets came from the quick bowlers. A drawn series this time would be enough for Clarke's men to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

That is not to say that their selections will guarantee success. Not if India keep batting the way Dhoni, Kohli and Tendulkar did in this innings. And not if Australia continue to miss their half-chances. There are plenty of things Australia would like to change about the first three days in Chennai. But the balance of the attack should not be one of them.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • soorajiyer on February 25, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    There were lot of tactical mistakes by Clarke actually: 1. Mitchell Starc bowled just 13 overs today.. The moment he came up against Jadeja, he got his wicket - but then there was a good partnership made already.

    2. Under bowled Siddle and over bowled Pattinson. Pattinson bowled around 20 overs today which is 1/4 of the overs available (clarke and warner bowled almost 10 today). Yes he was the best bowler, but he was visibly getting tired.

    3. Henriques would get the wickets if he keeps bowling wicket to wicket - outside the offstump bowling by him is not going to fetch him anything.. His job is not to attack anything other than stumps even if he keeps getting hit.

    Australia doesnt have a choice, but need Lyon to improve actually. I dont think Xavier doherty in the team would have made any difference..

  • whoster on February 24, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    I agree totally. Having two quality spinners represents the best chance of bowling out India in India. Having two modest spinners certainly isn't the answer, and Doherty would've probably got similar treatment to Lyon had he played. The Aussies have made such a hash of selecting spinners since Warne's retirement; they've tried just about every spinner in the country in the hope of finding another Warne - and it's no great surprise that there wasn't and isn't another one. They had a pretty useful and proven spinner in Hauritz until their selectors, in their wisdom, dropped him in favour of Doherty for the 10/11 Ashes. He got murdered in the first two Tests and swiftly dropped. He was picked purely to exploit KP's 'weakness' against left-arm spin. In fairness, Doherty did get him in Adelaide when he made just 227. No spinner since 2008 has received any faith from Aussie selectors, and I wouldn't be surprised if Lyon was discarded too, despite coming up against Dhoni's brilliance.

  • PPD123 on February 24, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    Excellent article by Coverdale. I completely support his line of argument. There is no guarantee that either Xoherty or Maxwell would have done any better. Eng were able to exploit cos they had Swann and Panesar, who bowled real world class & kept up the pressure at both ends. Aus strength is pace and I feel they should stick to that. It is the same with Ind, when the go abroad they shud not select 4 fast men, just to make up the numbers, if one of your top 4 bowlers in a spinner, select him irrespective of conditions. The only reason I feel Aus was successful in 2004, was due to the experience that squad compared to this one. The bowling group then comprised - McGrath, Warne, Gillepie & Kasprowicz, who had all toured ind previously and knew the conditions well. This bowling group in comparison has no experience of bowling in these conditions and the lack of experience showed. I feel Aus shud stick to the same attack & let these guys learn. Hopefully the shud improve moving forwards.

  • z0mbiezom on February 24, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Great Article Brydon. I agree with your analysis - England are a different team to Australia, and India will have to really follow the South African model to playing in India. This will mean their batting really has to click, more than just Clarke - Watson and Warner have to score hundreds. And bowling wise, they need someone else to support Pattison. Can't help but think Mike Hussey and Pat Cummins may have been the answers.

  • Wefinishthis on February 26, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    Brydon - incorrect. Massively incorrect. Lyon is NOT the best slow bowler in Australia. Anyone who actually follows cricket at more than just a national level knows that Steve O'Keefe is by a gulf the best slow bowler in Australia and has been for years. Even a Victorian would acknowledge that. Zampa has also shown some fantastic potential who given another season in shield, could even be better than both O'Keefe and Lyon, but we'll wait and see. Also, Pattinson was not "Dhonied". Not to take anything away from Dhoni's great knock, but Pattinson was outstanding and he got his man in the end as well. Having a good spinner like O'Keefe and a good accurate bowler like Bird or Harris (Starc and Siddle are not consistent enough) would have made all the difference. Please do what no other journalist did at the squad announcement and question the NSP on why they keep overlooking SOK, there's just no excuse left now.

  • ygkd on February 25, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    A cheerio to @andrew-schulz - I'm a Victorian and I agree with you. However, I don't think you told all of the story. Moises Henriques has entered himself in the book of revelations with his batting. I always thought he was a one-day hitter. But he batted like an old-fashioned type. No doubt the cap helped. Matty Wade, on the other hand, looked like a walking wicket. I was told yesterday by another Victorian that Wade's second innings batting record is deplorable. I looked it up and it is. Henriques should be pencilled in at 6. Wade must go. His keeping, as you say, is not up to it. But neither is his batting on turning pitches. You are right to say that even Brad Haddin would be preferable. Another Victorian, who was all for Wade, has admitted that he's been "disappointing". Yes, there's lots of one-eyed supporters out there, but some of us do try and think for ourselves! I'm sure we need a new gloveman if we're to play two spinners and if Henriques is to bowl more, we need more spin.

  • Samdanh on February 25, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    I can understand why many of us from India are advocating Aus to continue with playing to their strengths-with 3-4 fast bowlers and just one speacialist spinner. We have not forgotten how Eng learnt their lessons in their series here and beat India by 2-1, have we? Are we betraying a sense of nervousness assuming Aus apinners (if two specialists are included in XI) could be dangerous if conditions that turned out on 4th day in Chennai happens in Hyd or any of the next 3 Tests?

  • Beertjie on February 25, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    On the article itself, I agree with you, @Sidecast on (February 25, 2013, 1:31 GMT). The use of the rough after tea might have led to a different outcome. Not being wise after the fact but I agree with you @blink182alex on (February 24, 2013, 16:53 GMT) about Harris. No one could be sure of Pattinson but he came to party. Siddle was never going to do anything, but for the sake of the "tightness" of the group they picked him. Agree with every word @ygkd on (February 24, 2013, 22:06 GMT). Hope they are serious about PERFORMANCE, but I fear not. If they were, they wouldn't have selected Smith and Maxwell in the first place. Now they have to face it that Siddle must go. Keep Starc because yorkers are going to bring some wickets. Please play Khawaja for Hughes. Stop mollycoddling the one and give the other a fair go. But if you haven't got any spinning talent, you're lose a 4-match series in India every time. Not sure about Johnson @Tom Berenger on (February 24, 2013, 17:21 GMT).

  • on February 25, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Excellent Brydon..I agree with you. Australia should not compromise with its own strength..its strength was and is 'Fast' not 'Spin'. India did it once in last visit to down under and paid heavily the price. I would say if Lyon and Captain Clarke himself combine themself for the purpose to deliver a combination of Slow Leftarm and Offbreak bowling agaist India, it would be suffice and interesting. Remember the debut tour of Clarke to India? Remember Clarke in Sydney Test against India Under Khumble's captaincy?

    India own the Perth Teat against Australia because India fielded to its strength. It was due to the success of Khumble (though Ishant and Irfan was successful) and Sehwag, India own the match. Remember the turning point of the match...Sehwag bowled Gilchrist arround his leg in the second innings !

    So, play and have confidence on your own strength..don't mimick !

  • The_Cube on February 25, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    Got to agree there is no point in picking a second spinner of poor quality. A much better idea is to pick your best bowlers, one of which is Bird. Siddle is a dud who needs to be about 15km/hr faster if he is going to be effective against good batsmen.

  • soorajiyer on February 25, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    There were lot of tactical mistakes by Clarke actually: 1. Mitchell Starc bowled just 13 overs today.. The moment he came up against Jadeja, he got his wicket - but then there was a good partnership made already.

    2. Under bowled Siddle and over bowled Pattinson. Pattinson bowled around 20 overs today which is 1/4 of the overs available (clarke and warner bowled almost 10 today). Yes he was the best bowler, but he was visibly getting tired.

    3. Henriques would get the wickets if he keeps bowling wicket to wicket - outside the offstump bowling by him is not going to fetch him anything.. His job is not to attack anything other than stumps even if he keeps getting hit.

    Australia doesnt have a choice, but need Lyon to improve actually. I dont think Xavier doherty in the team would have made any difference..

  • whoster on February 24, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    I agree totally. Having two quality spinners represents the best chance of bowling out India in India. Having two modest spinners certainly isn't the answer, and Doherty would've probably got similar treatment to Lyon had he played. The Aussies have made such a hash of selecting spinners since Warne's retirement; they've tried just about every spinner in the country in the hope of finding another Warne - and it's no great surprise that there wasn't and isn't another one. They had a pretty useful and proven spinner in Hauritz until their selectors, in their wisdom, dropped him in favour of Doherty for the 10/11 Ashes. He got murdered in the first two Tests and swiftly dropped. He was picked purely to exploit KP's 'weakness' against left-arm spin. In fairness, Doherty did get him in Adelaide when he made just 227. No spinner since 2008 has received any faith from Aussie selectors, and I wouldn't be surprised if Lyon was discarded too, despite coming up against Dhoni's brilliance.

  • PPD123 on February 24, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    Excellent article by Coverdale. I completely support his line of argument. There is no guarantee that either Xoherty or Maxwell would have done any better. Eng were able to exploit cos they had Swann and Panesar, who bowled real world class & kept up the pressure at both ends. Aus strength is pace and I feel they should stick to that. It is the same with Ind, when the go abroad they shud not select 4 fast men, just to make up the numbers, if one of your top 4 bowlers in a spinner, select him irrespective of conditions. The only reason I feel Aus was successful in 2004, was due to the experience that squad compared to this one. The bowling group then comprised - McGrath, Warne, Gillepie & Kasprowicz, who had all toured ind previously and knew the conditions well. This bowling group in comparison has no experience of bowling in these conditions and the lack of experience showed. I feel Aus shud stick to the same attack & let these guys learn. Hopefully the shud improve moving forwards.

  • z0mbiezom on February 24, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Great Article Brydon. I agree with your analysis - England are a different team to Australia, and India will have to really follow the South African model to playing in India. This will mean their batting really has to click, more than just Clarke - Watson and Warner have to score hundreds. And bowling wise, they need someone else to support Pattison. Can't help but think Mike Hussey and Pat Cummins may have been the answers.

  • Wefinishthis on February 26, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    Brydon - incorrect. Massively incorrect. Lyon is NOT the best slow bowler in Australia. Anyone who actually follows cricket at more than just a national level knows that Steve O'Keefe is by a gulf the best slow bowler in Australia and has been for years. Even a Victorian would acknowledge that. Zampa has also shown some fantastic potential who given another season in shield, could even be better than both O'Keefe and Lyon, but we'll wait and see. Also, Pattinson was not "Dhonied". Not to take anything away from Dhoni's great knock, but Pattinson was outstanding and he got his man in the end as well. Having a good spinner like O'Keefe and a good accurate bowler like Bird or Harris (Starc and Siddle are not consistent enough) would have made all the difference. Please do what no other journalist did at the squad announcement and question the NSP on why they keep overlooking SOK, there's just no excuse left now.

  • ygkd on February 25, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    A cheerio to @andrew-schulz - I'm a Victorian and I agree with you. However, I don't think you told all of the story. Moises Henriques has entered himself in the book of revelations with his batting. I always thought he was a one-day hitter. But he batted like an old-fashioned type. No doubt the cap helped. Matty Wade, on the other hand, looked like a walking wicket. I was told yesterday by another Victorian that Wade's second innings batting record is deplorable. I looked it up and it is. Henriques should be pencilled in at 6. Wade must go. His keeping, as you say, is not up to it. But neither is his batting on turning pitches. You are right to say that even Brad Haddin would be preferable. Another Victorian, who was all for Wade, has admitted that he's been "disappointing". Yes, there's lots of one-eyed supporters out there, but some of us do try and think for ourselves! I'm sure we need a new gloveman if we're to play two spinners and if Henriques is to bowl more, we need more spin.

  • Samdanh on February 25, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    I can understand why many of us from India are advocating Aus to continue with playing to their strengths-with 3-4 fast bowlers and just one speacialist spinner. We have not forgotten how Eng learnt their lessons in their series here and beat India by 2-1, have we? Are we betraying a sense of nervousness assuming Aus apinners (if two specialists are included in XI) could be dangerous if conditions that turned out on 4th day in Chennai happens in Hyd or any of the next 3 Tests?

  • Beertjie on February 25, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    On the article itself, I agree with you, @Sidecast on (February 25, 2013, 1:31 GMT). The use of the rough after tea might have led to a different outcome. Not being wise after the fact but I agree with you @blink182alex on (February 24, 2013, 16:53 GMT) about Harris. No one could be sure of Pattinson but he came to party. Siddle was never going to do anything, but for the sake of the "tightness" of the group they picked him. Agree with every word @ygkd on (February 24, 2013, 22:06 GMT). Hope they are serious about PERFORMANCE, but I fear not. If they were, they wouldn't have selected Smith and Maxwell in the first place. Now they have to face it that Siddle must go. Keep Starc because yorkers are going to bring some wickets. Please play Khawaja for Hughes. Stop mollycoddling the one and give the other a fair go. But if you haven't got any spinning talent, you're lose a 4-match series in India every time. Not sure about Johnson @Tom Berenger on (February 24, 2013, 17:21 GMT).

  • on February 25, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Excellent Brydon..I agree with you. Australia should not compromise with its own strength..its strength was and is 'Fast' not 'Spin'. India did it once in last visit to down under and paid heavily the price. I would say if Lyon and Captain Clarke himself combine themself for the purpose to deliver a combination of Slow Leftarm and Offbreak bowling agaist India, it would be suffice and interesting. Remember the debut tour of Clarke to India? Remember Clarke in Sydney Test against India Under Khumble's captaincy?

    India own the Perth Teat against Australia because India fielded to its strength. It was due to the success of Khumble (though Ishant and Irfan was successful) and Sehwag, India own the match. Remember the turning point of the match...Sehwag bowled Gilchrist arround his leg in the second innings !

    So, play and have confidence on your own strength..don't mimick !

  • The_Cube on February 25, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    Got to agree there is no point in picking a second spinner of poor quality. A much better idea is to pick your best bowlers, one of which is Bird. Siddle is a dud who needs to be about 15km/hr faster if he is going to be effective against good batsmen.

  • on February 25, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    I am disappointed at the way in which this track is prepared. . .It once again shows the lack of foresight from the BCCI. . . Although India will probably win this test. . Australia's young batsmen will gain valuable experience from this series and will eventually be the better for it. India's young team though will once again have an inflated victory on a rank turner. . which kills the chance for a number of good young pace bowlers from gaining experience and its batsmen from gaining experience against good pace bowling. The impending departure of Tendulkar will complete the last true touring Test match professionals for a while. . and cement India's place in the middle test rankings. Seriously when will this stop

  • on February 25, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    The Cricket Australia Rule makers should make picking a genuine spinner in all domestic competition games compulsory + a minimum allocation of overs required to be bowled by spinners. That is the only way to foster spinners in Australia. Our Australian pitches just are't conducive to spin bowling so full time spinners don't get picked. When they are picked they hardly bowl unless the pitch is crumbling. It is just so obvious the Australian batsmen have no clue against any half decent spinners because they never face quality spin.

  • Tumbarumbar on February 25, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    There have been a number of references to SW's performances in India but I honestly can't recall any pitches like this one being served up when Warne toured. Given the bounce that orthodox spinners have managed to get I shudder to think what a decent leg spinner would get. By the same token I doubt if Australia would have reached 150 in either innings if Kumble was still playing.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 25, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Australia need wrist-spinners, a wicket-keeper that can bat a little, a much better number 3, a more consistent opening batsman, and fitter fast bowlers. McKay needs to be considered for tests, not fragile injury-prone T20 bowlers like Cummins.

  • Gordo85 on February 25, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    In all seriousness if your Fast bowlers don't get most of the wickets like in the current Test match then you would think one of them would make way for another spin bowler. I said before it was pretty stupid only picking Lyon because he isn't in great form and today he went for tones of runs. At least if you pick a second slow bowler you can maybe speed up the over rate. Look current Australian spinners are not very good but does that mean we shouldn't even take one because not one of them is world class? You should still pick your best team that would use these conditions to the best. Also hello India picked three slow bowlers you don't need to pick three but two.

  • GeoffreysMother on February 25, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    VivGilchrist - have you not just seen Clarke given not out when it was hitting middle stump? Whinging Aussie?

  • VivGilchrist on February 25, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    Maybe if we played more spinners we might get a few LBW decisions our way.

  • Samdanh on February 25, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    Looking at what is hapening in 3rd innings of this match, the theory discussed here seems to be seriously wrong. You just cannot compare past scenarios with current ones. Today, except when Pak, Sri Lanka, and perhaps even England and South Africa are travelling to India, there is an open demand for pitches that turn from day one. You can imagine how a turning track on day one can crumble into from 2nd or 3rd day. If not in such circumstances as these, when do Aus want to use two specialist spinners? I am sure a second spinner would have applied pressure and could have helped Aus contain India to a lesser score. Leaving behind in Aus their best spiinner by performance from latest Shield tournament, also sounds a big mistake

  • LillianThomson on February 25, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Who says that none of Australia's spinners are competent?

    I'd have batted Maxwell at seven, Mitch Johnson at eight, Hauritz at nine, Pattinson at ten and O'Keefe at eleven.

    Better spinners - certainly harder to hit - and a strong tail-end batting array.

  • Rahul_78 on February 25, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    I guess playing your best attack theory does hold the water. Harbhajan (even though under bowled) did take only 1 wicket as appose to 7 taken by Ashwin. He bowled poorly on the first day. So there is no point picking the bowler just for conditions sake if he doesnt posses the skill sets to execute the plans to achieve the success. Siddle and Stark have the economy rate of less then 3 that mean at least they kept the things tidy and didnt leak runs at fair clip. Imagine the mood Dhoni and Kohli were in yesterday it would have played right into their hands if there was another spinner bowling and going for more then 4 runs an over. Bottom line is this OZ team is lacking the legendary quality of Warne to put the pressure on opposition in testing spinning conditions. And even the worlds all time great spinner doesnt have flattering statistics in India. So those bickering the team combination and Lyon for poor performance need to have second glance at facts and figures.

  • andrew-schulz on February 25, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    I just want to send a Cheerio to all those Victorians who said how good Wade's keeping would be when I warned he shouldn't be picked for Australia. Haddin was bad, but this is a totally unacceptable level of incompetence. His performing of the basics is worse than any club keeper. We will never forget his comical attempt at a run out of Herath in our previous Test. In this Test we have seen him duck out of the way of a turning ball which had beaten the bat, mess up a run out by letting the ball go because he thought the return might hit the stumps, fluff another run out by not even realising he should get to the stumps until the batsmen had run two and then getting there too late, have a ping at the stumps 3 seconds after the batsman had made his ground, and incredibly refuse to position himself in a position where he could take the ball on the full after the previous dozens of balls had bounced in front of him. This is nowhere near an exhaustive list. He is our weakest link out th

  • kabe_ag7 on February 25, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    That wasn't a sharp chance for Clarke. It was a near impossible chance. Dhoni had smashed it. Most don't stick their hand out. Clarke was brave to do just that. And Henriques on the boundary wasn't a 'half-chance' either. He could have at best kept it inside with some Pollard level acrobatics.

  • on February 25, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    The test is not over yet. Australia is a quality team. Indian fans should not be thinking that this is done and dusted. Lyon did not bowl very bad. He was up against Dhoni when Dhoni was on rampage, played an exceptional innings, in Indian conditions that Dhoni knows too well. This is no disgrace for Lyon. Let's hope we get some good contest, and knowing Australia's track record, I think we will see some good contest. Indian selectors should worry about Sehwag, Vijay, Harbhajan and Ishant. They have mostly been spectators so far. Some slack can be cut for B Kumar, this is his first test. But, carrying four senior passengers is not a match-winning formula for India. Harbhajan's slog, after playing test cricket for 15 years, was very discouraging, to put it mildly.

  • tpjpower on February 25, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Completely disagree with this article. As other posts have pointed out, playing four pace bowlers only guarantees slow over rates. Moreover, given the recent injury woes faced by Australia's quicks and the immense physical challenge of bowling fast in India, it seems more sensible to rotate the touring seamers while playing two spinners. I'd like to see three changes for the next Test. Johnson should replace Siddle - the former's record in Asia isn't too bad, and he can actually dismiss batsmen rather than waiting for them to dismiss themselves. Hughes should be dropped, as he appeared completely out of his depth in the first innings, and Khawaja given a game. Doherty should feign injury and go home, allowing SOK or Boyce to come straight into the XI in place of whichever opening bowler is deemed in need of some "informed player management".

  • zortboy on February 25, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    I just had a quick look at the Aussie bowling stats. Before the match Clarke said that he and Warner would bowl a fair bit as back up to Lyon. Well of the 51 overs of spin Clarke bowled 8 and Warner bowled 3, doesn't seem like too much support to me.

  • zortboy on February 25, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    They should have kept Ashton Agar in India and given him a game. What is the point of four quicks bowling on a pitch that looks like centre court at Roland Garros in the French Open?

  • buntyj on February 25, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    well written article, i agree entirely

  • OneEyedAussie on February 25, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    I agree - quality over quantity is required for victory in international cricket.

    Is Lyon thinking about what he is doing? He bowls from the same spot on the crease every delivery and lacks variety - in other words he is basically bowling the same ball over and over. Surely he is getting better advice than this? Surely he was watching closely what Ashwin was doing while in the dressing room?

  • Mad_Hamish on February 25, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    Australia may have won in India in 2004 largely based around quick bowlers but in that series they had McGrath, Gillespie & Kasprowicz as their quicks. All of whom had bowled in India before and did the job. Pattinson is doing well so far (although 6 overs on the first day he bowled raises questions) but Siddle and Starc aren't comparable to McGrath or Gillespie. Doherty as a fairly quick spinner through the air on a pitch with the odd one turning and the odd one jumping or shooting would almost certainly have created more problems than Starc has managed.

  • Jayzuz on February 25, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    I did just go back and count all the wickets by the AUS fastbowlers so far on tour . It's only 14. Still, a lot better than the zero wickets taken by the Indian quicks. I wouldn't be surprised if IND didn't even bother with the fastbowlers in the second innings of this test. Kind of pointless in these conditions. I'm betting they'll go better than the first innings, and spin will be on even earlier than the 6th over.

  • marice on February 25, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Agree with BC, real damage was done late in the day. For the rest of the day Aust. bowlers were either on top or competitive. Not sure why bowlers couldnt sustain the effort in the last session particulalrly when they came under attack.

  • satishchandar on February 25, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    I don't think Australia have the reserves like England who won recently. England did the mistake by playing Broad and Bresnan in the first test ahead of Finn and Panesar who had the talent level to succeed in these conditions. Atleast, they had the reserves who succeeded before like Finn in ODI series in India and Monty who had wonderful tour of UAE. If at all Australia did a tactical blunder, it was to drop Johnson. He is the one who might do the job like Finn. Bowl fast tireless spells at awkward angles if he can bowl his best. Bring Johnson in for any fast bowler. I cant say bringing in Doherty directly in as he hasn't done anything in longer format to merit place(Just like our own Bhajji sir).. He is not of Monty class really.. Play him in if there is a urgency to play two spinners replacing Lyon with Maxwell.

  • Jayzuz on February 25, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    Coverdale makes some sense. So far, its been just one bad session on the tour. But the reality is that India have prepared a track that is as dry and glassless as is possible to be, and obviously deliberately so. I've said it before. Australia have a very good fast-bowling line-up, but these conditions are simply too extreme. I've also said this before: not a single wicket has been taken by an Indian fast bowler in the four Australian innings on this tour. That must be something of a record, and simply highlights the extreme nature of the conditions. In comparison, the Australian fastbowlers have done infinitely better, having taken approx. twenty wickets amongst them (without going back and counting them all). Lyon needs spin support.

  • satishchandar on February 25, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    I partially agree with the article. But unfortunately, two most successful team to succeed in INdia are the Aussie 11 in 2004 which comprised of McGrath, Gillespie and Kapser as pace battery in prime form and SA usually wins atleast one game in India with their tireless pace bowlers who deliver almost everytime and a batting lineup which can face spin very well in first innings and can fight it out in second innings. This pace lineup certainly has the talent but what they miss is the perseverance that the successful attacks in India had. You can't blame them for that too with the thin experience.

  • Rowayton on February 25, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    We'll see how the rest of this match goes, but I think they have to pick Doherty for the next Test - he is unlikely to have worse figures than Siddle or Starc and may do better. Dhoni seemed to play the left armer (clarke) more carefully than the right hand bowlers. The other thing I couldn't figure out is why Starc spent so much time bowling around the wicket. If we wanted another person bowling that line, we would have picked another right armer. What was he trying to achieve?

  • GreatLCC on February 25, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    Well Said. However, I still believe adding one quality spinner would have made a huge difference.

  • Sidecast on February 25, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    An illogical approach Brydon. Because one type of bowler fails there shouldn't be anymore? Wacky stuff. And let's recall where Dhoni hit all his sixes off Lyon. That'd be hitting with the spin to cow corner. If Doherty had been bowling to him, do you think that Dhoni would have been as keen to jump down the track? Especially as X would've been pitching in the rough. Really Brydon.

    And btw... Did you know that Mitchell Starc has yet to take a wicket in his first spell in the nine innings that he's opened the bowling? Lucky his suirname's not Johnson isn't it?

    alvey

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    I havent seen much wrong with the seam bowling and India at 8/400 to bat last on this deck we were a show. Cowan puts down a catch to make it 9/400. Then we see an unbelievable assault by Dhoni and now all we can do is save the match. I think the bowling options are good but the plan needs a tweek. Firstly, Starc bowl over the wicket and angle across. Its rare to get slip catches but cant see why we wont get them in the gully region if we had a fielder there. Same for Siddle,Pattinson, Henriques the plan to the batsman is so obvious that we are going to reverse swing balls into the stumps - use this ball as a shock tactic not the stock delivery. Get fielders on the offside of the wicket. For Lyon, why dont we have anyone behind point, he doesnt have the confidence to bowl into the footmarks outside off-stump because we dont have the fielders there. I have seen decent bowling but certainly the plan should be revised.

  • Ozcricketwriter on February 25, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    Johnson, Starc, Bird and Pattinson should have been the line up - plus Henriques. Neither Doherty nor Lyon should have played. This attack would have got through them. I can't see the logic in playing Siddle, who has the worst record of any of the 4 players with Indian experience (Watson, Johnson and Clarke all have fantastic records in India). Sure, so Siddle can last forever, but his technique simply doesn't suit India. For the 2nd test, drop Siddle and Lyon, play Bird and Johnson. Please.

  • on February 25, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    Just a first test so far, so why to jump to any conclusion. Since, Mohali and Hyderabad are going to be different pitches as compared to Delhi and Chennai, it will be interesting contest between pace and spin.

  • Nerk on February 25, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    One bad day at the office and we hit the panic button! Shane Warne and Murali could have been bowling out there and still Dhoni would have massacred them, probably at a slower rate, but still! His was a superb knock. Nonetheless, I think Australia have to ask themselves whether Lyon is the man for the job. Personally, I like him, and at 25 he has great potential. But he has had an average summer and it is continuing. Perhaps Doherty is worth another crack, he can fill a holding role while the quicks regroup. Or someone like Maxwell or SOK. Lyon has had a fair go, he is not performing, time for someone else to get a chance.

  • notvery on February 25, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    it all seems very strange to me... 3 quicks and your allrounder is a medium/quick... when you could have put a spinning allrounder in... 3 quicks is enough on any surface...and you know that you need more bowling in india, you will have to bowl a lot of overs. its not like the allrounder has played 40 games and you know what your getting... so go for the spinning allrounder its a much better balance.

  • on February 24, 2013, 23:47 GMT

    of course if the Aussies draw or win the match, all this goes out the window. And given the pitch seems to be batsmen-friendly, don't be surprised

  • Teej_onlycricket on February 24, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Test cricket is still alive. I think the bowling was inaccurate at times, low full toss fetching easy boundaries. There was no pressure applied that we are so used to seeing with Aussie quick's. Bowling requires team work and that unfortunately did not happen yesterday. Boy's will learn from it and come back strong to make it an interesting finish.

    Hats off to Dhoni, he manages to survive with his unorthodox defense, but when he decides to whack his mind is clear and so is the boundary.

    I don't think anything needs to change with the team composition, the battle is between spin and quick so let it be. Lyons is a good blower but needs to improve more on trajectories and variations soon, watch out for Ashwin, looks like he got his flight and dip back after an year of struggle.

  • pulkit10 on February 24, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    A dumb analogy because you are comparing an attack made up of Lee, McGrath and Gillespie or Steyn, Morkel and Philander/Donald to one made up of Siddle, Pattinson and Starc. Not saying the Oz attack isn't good but it isn't even close to rivaling the aforementioned. Basically, except Pattinson (who was only effective in short bursts), none of the Oz quicks had anything to offer. England encountered the same problem when they were here a few months ago - no one except Jimmy Anderson could do anything. Fortunately for them, they had two highly skilled spinners to do the job for them. Australia don't have that luxury.

    By not including Doherty you are basically saying that we'll stick with what is ineffective and see what happens. Sorry, but that's rubbish. Sure, Xavier might not even make that big of a difference but he is still worth a shot if the quicks aren't stepping up to the plate?

    Also, India employed a miserable attack at WACA so no comparison there. That's a foolish analogy too

  • Tigg on February 24, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    No, no, no.

    Even if it's just a case of Maxwell or Smith over Henriques you need that second spinner. Seam bowling is Englands strength too and I'd hardly call Monty an overly aggressive spinner. You have to play your strengths, yes, but you also need to focus on the conditions. If India play three spinners on a green seamer it's as foolish as what the Aussies have done in picking just Lyon in this test.

  • bobagorof on February 24, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    Australia should play to their strengths - one spinner and a pace attack. Doherty looked completely ineffectual when he played Test cricket, and hasn't been outstanding in the limited overs matches either. It's a shame that Lyon is the best they have, but he is the best they have and should be getting full support. Complaining that he isn't good enough and dropping him for someone worse won't improve things. What might improve things is looking around for some spinners to turn the ball a lot, and working with them to improve their control. Or picking people who perform domestically rather than everyone but.

  • ygkd on February 24, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    I agree that Australia's spinning stocks are not so strong as to make two spinners an automatic choice by any means. However, I still think the attack was unbalanced. An experienced medium-paced-seamer bowling cutters, along the lines of Andrew McDonald would have been far better as a fourth "pace" option in the absence of Shane Watson's bowling. If McDonald was unfit then maybe James Hopes may have been an alternative. If Moises Henriques was to play however, then two spinners are required. Such are the ifs and buts of selection. There are a number of possibilities which may have been okay, but the one chosen probably wasn't one of them. Personally, I want to see more spin (a-la Swann/Panesar), more fielders round the bat and quality glovework.

  • Mary_786 on February 24, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    Some very good points by Coverdale, Siddle was not at his best yesterday but i predict he will be the man of the series by the end of this series.

  • on February 24, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    There are a lot of truisms in cricket, one of which is "never write off an Australian side". Given the brand of cricket they play, they can come back any time at any stage in a test match. So if I was Dhoni I would look to bat another half an hour, get quick runs, and then declare. It's not going to be easy to get wickets the second time around, contrary to what most people are thinking. These expectations of Indian pitches turning into minefields on days 4 and 5 usually come unstuck. I think India will need a big performance from their seamers. They were really disappointing in the first innings, but now they need to step up their game. Ashwin can't get all the wickets. Ishant needs to learn from the way Pattinson bowled, and try to focus on a fuller length, attacking the stumps. We dearly miss Umesh Yadav because that kind of bowling is basically his bread and butter.

  • bumsonseats on February 24, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    your best spinner is sitting on a beach in queensland and has been for the last 3/4 years. i dont know what nathan hauritz has done but it must have been a humdinger for him to be left out of the teams, picked since then.hes no world beater but then the likes of warne dont come around to often. but he would do a sound job and the type CA want from lyon, but from a guy who they already have.

  • skccochin on February 24, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    @author "There was a sharp return chance to Clarke, a six that Henriques might have reeled in had he found a better position on the boundary. "

    Henriques was to be placed 2 meters outside of the boundary rope to pick that six, and is it allowed to take a catch with legs placed outside the boundary rope?

    About the return catch to Clarke, if medical science is right, with that pace, clarke's finger bones should have been broken if he tried to hold on to that

    So, are you still saying that there were 'half chances'? or Just somehow want to put Dhoni's inning down?

  • Simoc on February 24, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    Nonsense Bryan and a stupid anology. Quality yes but what does Peter Siddle offer in India. Zilch. Supposedly he is the first man picked. It's is just the selectors weren't smart enough to learn off England whose pace attack is equivalent to ours. It would be ultimate if Clarke got suspended for a test due to slow over rates from four tired fast bowlers. The scoring to date indicate a good test cricket wicket despite all the criticism. And a career defining innings from Dhoni (heard that somewhere).

  • on February 24, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    I'm afraid Brydon has got this one, in my opinion. First, it's an argument for *always* picking your four best bowlers, regardless of opponent or pitch. Second, the point in having a second spinner is not merely to try to have some bowl the same or better than Lyon; it's also to enable *both* spinners to bowl better by taking the pressure of both of them.

    Where the selectors have got it wrong in the past is by trying too many different guys in the hope that one turns out to be world class. They should have stuck by two or three and let them learn their game. Had they done that as soon as Warne / MacGill retired they might have a couple of useful spinners by now, instead of Lyon and a load of crappers.

  • Leggie on February 24, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    Excellent article. Being an Indian cricket fan, I would love to see Australians try out 2 spinners ;-) But it's definitely not the right strategy. Australia should stick to their strengths - which is pace. And to bring in balance, Watson the all rounder should come into the fore and provide at least some bowling "support". I really don't see Watto being in the team only for batting.

  • Cpt.Meanster on February 24, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    To all Aussie fans: Guys, please pray for Mr. Lyon quick exit out of the team. Cause, if you don't then all I can say is good luck against England. England have two genuine match winners in Swann and Monty. They will make an embarrassment out of Lyon. Do you wish to see that happen ? So please, get in another better spinner or anyone who even pretends to spin the ball instead of this former Adelaide Oval employee. In a way, I do agree with Brydon. More spin is not the way. Certainly, because Australia don't have ANY spinner of note. So it does make sense that they don't play any spinners or guys who pretend to be spin bowlers. Bring on a 5 man pace attack for Hyderabad instead :D.

  • AvidCricFan on February 24, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    Aussie's lack of quality spinners is the dilemma similar to what India faces with pace bowlers when touring outside of continent. On the other hand, the Indian spin attack is not all that great. However, it is sufficiently effective to exploit the conditions. The same is with batting. If Australia had one quality spinner and one average, the Indian batting may be struggled. We have seen what England did to India in India.

  • bumsonseats on February 24, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    lets be fair as wickets go in India its not a bad wicket close to 900 runs in 3 days and 18 wickets. thats what you get and expect. you have to score big 1st innings. but if india were to have batted 1st they would have scored 500. the wicket to get steadily harder to bat on just as it should be.

  • CricketCoachDB on February 24, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    Sorry Brydon (and everyone else it seems!), I totally disagree. The Aussie seamers reminded me so much of Broad and Bresnan toiling in the heat without reward or any prospect of one. Australia need to learn the lesson that England learnt fast-you NEED two frontline spinners in India, minimum. It should really be O'Keefe, but as Doherty is the man selected, his quick through the air SLA should be employed to provide a balanced attack. It's as much about stamina as anything else-Pattinson and Starc should be reserved for short 3-4 over bursts, not long spells. Pattinson was down to 130 after bowling at 150 at the start of the innings, he's shattered.

  • screamingeagle on February 24, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    I am not sure why the author is so worried about half chances and stuff. This was just a special knock, just absorb it and keep going. Whether Aus will be able to do that is another story though.

  • on February 24, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    I think today's showing by the aussie spin attack just goes on to show what a stellar performance the england spin-duo produced early in the winter. I think it was a predatory spin-partnership which is gonna be etched into history forever & has very little chace of being usurped. Just to give you an idea, swann & monty took '19 out of the available 20' scalps in mumbai the first time they were paired together on the tour while trailing 1-0 in the series. On another note, the kind of form dhoni has been on lately, he can literally destroy any spinner. I've actually seen xavier doherty weeping in the field in a test when he was taken to the cleaners by the poms in ashes! Imagine what would happen to him if clarke exposes him to dhoni n' kohli & co. At least nathan lyon could afford a wry smile.

  • Apocalypse_EX on February 24, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    The fact is Australia need Lyon to improve...a lot. He can't outsmart a batsman who is in a defensive mode and cant do it when they all out attack him either. So far most of his wickets have been batsman being careless with the odd good dismissal in between. Seeing as Shane Warne is doing work at the studio why not pick his brain for some tips?

  • on February 24, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    Totally agree with this article. 2004 was the blueprint - Australia just doesn't have the resources to precisely reproduce that performance. But a second spinner would not have helped - especially if you consider that Pattinson would have most likely been the man to make way for Doherty. The selections have been pretty good, based on what is available. Henriques has performed well, Siddle is always worth his spot, Pattinson has exceeded expectations and Lyon produced a mixed performance, but the selectors need to show some faith until a better option emerges. Shane Warne struggled to take wickets in India. If he couldn't dominate in India, you can't expect Lyon (and/or a second spinner) to destroy Indians on their owns pitches - you need to accept that they (not surprisingly) are good players of spin bowling.

    However, Johnson might be better suited to Indian conditions than Starc. Johnson is a great workhorse in these conditions, whereas Starc will be far more valuable in England.

  • GeoffreysMother on February 24, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Mmm - playing to your strengths or having your weaknesses exposed? India's inability to play pace or bowl it led to a 4-0 defeat in Australia. Will the reverse situation with regard to spin mean Australia lose 4-0 in India?

    The only things that may challenge this are some outstanding performances by Michael Clarke (including winning the toss four times out of four) or the fact that India's spin bowling is not as strong as it once was - particularly if they insist on not picking Ohja.

  • truthfinder on February 24, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Australian's pace bowler's problem is they cannot swing the ball with good pace. They are primarily deck hitting seam bowler heavily rely on the pace and bounce of the pitch as they get in Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand. That is why they struggle in India. They get away with it in Sri Lanka because of their lack of batting depth but caught founding against India. Their spinners are reasonably good turner (may be better than Indian tweakers) but without variation and cannot generate bounce for a bat-pad catch. Moreover quick footed , soft-handed Indian batsmen made their live miserable too.

  • torsha on February 24, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Well said Brydon. On his day, Dhoni is devastated to any bowlers in the world.

  • blink182alex on February 24, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Sometimes you become a better player when you are not playing. I don't think anyone on the sidelines would of done any better with the exception of Ryan Harris.

    Doherty doesn't even take many wickets for Tasmania so i doubt he would of fared any better against batsmen that play ordinary spinners like him easily.

    If Jon Holland or Michael Beer were fit i would think of playing them, but they're not. No point even discussing Maxwell.

  • blink182alex on February 24, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Sometimes you become a better player when you are not playing. I don't think anyone on the sidelines would of done any better with the exception of Ryan Harris.

    Doherty doesn't even take many wickets for Tasmania so i doubt he would of fared any better against batsmen that play ordinary spinners like him easily.

    If Jon Holland or Michael Beer were fit i would think of playing them, but they're not. No point even discussing Maxwell.

  • torsha on February 24, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Well said Brydon. On his day, Dhoni is devastated to any bowlers in the world.

  • truthfinder on February 24, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Australian's pace bowler's problem is they cannot swing the ball with good pace. They are primarily deck hitting seam bowler heavily rely on the pace and bounce of the pitch as they get in Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand. That is why they struggle in India. They get away with it in Sri Lanka because of their lack of batting depth but caught founding against India. Their spinners are reasonably good turner (may be better than Indian tweakers) but without variation and cannot generate bounce for a bat-pad catch. Moreover quick footed , soft-handed Indian batsmen made their live miserable too.

  • GeoffreysMother on February 24, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Mmm - playing to your strengths or having your weaknesses exposed? India's inability to play pace or bowl it led to a 4-0 defeat in Australia. Will the reverse situation with regard to spin mean Australia lose 4-0 in India?

    The only things that may challenge this are some outstanding performances by Michael Clarke (including winning the toss four times out of four) or the fact that India's spin bowling is not as strong as it once was - particularly if they insist on not picking Ohja.

  • on February 24, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    Totally agree with this article. 2004 was the blueprint - Australia just doesn't have the resources to precisely reproduce that performance. But a second spinner would not have helped - especially if you consider that Pattinson would have most likely been the man to make way for Doherty. The selections have been pretty good, based on what is available. Henriques has performed well, Siddle is always worth his spot, Pattinson has exceeded expectations and Lyon produced a mixed performance, but the selectors need to show some faith until a better option emerges. Shane Warne struggled to take wickets in India. If he couldn't dominate in India, you can't expect Lyon (and/or a second spinner) to destroy Indians on their owns pitches - you need to accept that they (not surprisingly) are good players of spin bowling.

    However, Johnson might be better suited to Indian conditions than Starc. Johnson is a great workhorse in these conditions, whereas Starc will be far more valuable in England.

  • Apocalypse_EX on February 24, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    The fact is Australia need Lyon to improve...a lot. He can't outsmart a batsman who is in a defensive mode and cant do it when they all out attack him either. So far most of his wickets have been batsman being careless with the odd good dismissal in between. Seeing as Shane Warne is doing work at the studio why not pick his brain for some tips?

  • on February 24, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    I think today's showing by the aussie spin attack just goes on to show what a stellar performance the england spin-duo produced early in the winter. I think it was a predatory spin-partnership which is gonna be etched into history forever & has very little chace of being usurped. Just to give you an idea, swann & monty took '19 out of the available 20' scalps in mumbai the first time they were paired together on the tour while trailing 1-0 in the series. On another note, the kind of form dhoni has been on lately, he can literally destroy any spinner. I've actually seen xavier doherty weeping in the field in a test when he was taken to the cleaners by the poms in ashes! Imagine what would happen to him if clarke exposes him to dhoni n' kohli & co. At least nathan lyon could afford a wry smile.

  • screamingeagle on February 24, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    I am not sure why the author is so worried about half chances and stuff. This was just a special knock, just absorb it and keep going. Whether Aus will be able to do that is another story though.

  • CricketCoachDB on February 24, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    Sorry Brydon (and everyone else it seems!), I totally disagree. The Aussie seamers reminded me so much of Broad and Bresnan toiling in the heat without reward or any prospect of one. Australia need to learn the lesson that England learnt fast-you NEED two frontline spinners in India, minimum. It should really be O'Keefe, but as Doherty is the man selected, his quick through the air SLA should be employed to provide a balanced attack. It's as much about stamina as anything else-Pattinson and Starc should be reserved for short 3-4 over bursts, not long spells. Pattinson was down to 130 after bowling at 150 at the start of the innings, he's shattered.

  • bumsonseats on February 24, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    lets be fair as wickets go in India its not a bad wicket close to 900 runs in 3 days and 18 wickets. thats what you get and expect. you have to score big 1st innings. but if india were to have batted 1st they would have scored 500. the wicket to get steadily harder to bat on just as it should be.