India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad March 1, 2013

Australia consider a late change


Australia appear set to make a late change to their line-up for the second Test in Hyderabad after earlier indications were that they would use the same XI that lost in Chennai. Cricket Australia did not reveal the nature of the change but the most likely scenario is that it would surround the makeup of the attack on a pitch that the captain Michael Clarke said would take turn from the first day but also hoped would offer more for the fast men than the Chennai surface.

The backup spinners in the squad, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell, could be considered, while a pace-for-pace swap involving Mitchell Johnson is another possibility. On Friday morning the indications were that Australia would name an unchanged line-up but Clarke said the selectors would not commit to an XI until after seeing the pitch again during the afternoon.*

"I'm hoping there will be a bit more pace in this wicket because it's a bit harder surface," Clarke said before the team's training session on Friday. "I don't think this wicket will be any tougher than Chennai. That was a really tough wicket, so I think we have seen the toughest of conditions.

"The wicket will certainly deteriorate as the Test goes on, so it's a positive for our fast bowlers that it will be a little bit up and down. But spin from day one will play a huge part in this Test. I'd be very surprised if India played any less spin, put it that way. Looking at it yesterday, it looked like a day three or day four pitch."

Two days out from the match, there were already a few cracks developing but the surface did not have the clay-like appearance of the Chennai pitch. The harder surface should give a little more encouragement to Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson, although Clarke said Starc and Siddle would still need to learn from the way that Pattinson used speed through the air as his major weapon rather than relying on assistance from the pitch.

"You have to hit the wicket really hard here," Clarke said. "If you just put the ball there you get nothing out of the conditions, even if the ball is reverse swinging. In Chennai it was really hard to be caught behind the wicket once the ball was 10-15 overs old, so we needed to use our speed through the air. I think Patto did that really well - he ran in hard, hit the wicket really hard and he got more out of the pitch, and more out of the ball than Sidds and Starcy. We've certainly spoken about that."

Siddle and Starc are not the only members of the attack who will need to rethink their strategy after struggling in Chennai. Nathan Lyon leaked far too many runs in the first Test and will need to find a way to keep things tighter if he plays in Hyderabad. Clarke said Lyon had shown some encouraging signs towards the end of the Chennai Test.

"On grounds in India it's very easy to go for a lot more runs because they're smaller and have fast outfields," Clarke said. "I thought Lyno showed his character in the second innings. I wish we had 150-200 runs on the board because then he would have had the opportunity to bowl in inconsistent spin, pace and bounce on a day-five wicket that I know he would have loved. He's been fine [since the Test]. He's working hard every day to try and get better.

"I think it's important for all of us as a team to stay positive and confident. We saw what happened with England over here. For a lot of the guys, it was their first Test match in India and those conditions are as tough as they are going to be for a fast-bowling unit and the batsmen. I think there are a lot of positives we've got to take out of the game, we've looked at areas we need to improve and a lot of that is about patience with both bat and ball."

Clarke said he was confident that Doherty, the other specialist spinner in the touring party, would offer plenty to the team if he was added to the XI. Doherty's first-class figures of 122 wickets at 44.56 do not make for encouraging reading, nor does the fact that he has managed only two wickets at 80 this Sheffield Shield season. But Clarke said it was unfair to extrapolate how Doherty might fare in India from how he bowls at home.

"He's bowling at Bellerive (Bellerive Oval, Hobart)," Clarke said. "I think that's a little bit different to Chennai or Chandigarh. I think if you have a look at fast bowling in Australia compared to spin bowling, because of our conditions in first-class cricket, fast bowling will always outweigh spin bowling. I'm surprised a spinner gets a bowl at Bellerive because the game is nearly over in two-and-a-half days. I don't think it would be fair on any of our spinners to compare their statistics in Australia to how important their impact could be in the sub-continent."

13.55GMT, March 1: The article was updated following Australia's practice session on Friday.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Graham on March 2, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    Captain Meanstar; "Lyon and Doherty are NOWHERE as good as Ashwin or Ojha or even Jadeja." CMON Jadeja played two tests, did you watch the series in Australia Lyon was clearly better than Ashwin in that series. Cant see why you think the gulf is so large between Lyon and Ashwin. You can be patriotic but show some common sense.

  • vignesh on March 2, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    India need to drop ishant sharma now he is taken just 12 wickets in his last 7 test matches,he is unfit to play in indian team.Rahane is a middle order batsmen unless sachin retires he wont have a chance to play.he has failed as an opener.Dinda must be replace ishant sharma,Bcoz dinda can bowl well against the left handers,he his good fielder too.If they wanted to bring back ojha then i think they should drop jadeja.

    1.vijay 2. sehwag 3. pujara 4. sachin 5. kohli 6.dhoni 7. jadeja 8. ashwin 9. harbhajan 10. bhuvanesh 11. dinda

  • Karl on March 2, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    Selectors should have taken O"Keefe on the tour... was a mistake seeing that he has taken the same amount of shield wickets as all the spinners in Australian squad combined and at a lower average and better ecconomy rate... Not taking Steve O'Keefe over there was a mistake and now having Bird come home injured gives the selectors their way out by making O'Keefe his replacement... Besides O'Keefe can bat - should have gone instead of "The Big Show"

  • Jay on March 2, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    @landl47: Speaking of common sense, you lacked the same in your response to Nampally. Lyon and Doherty are NOWHERE as good as Ashwin or Ojha or even Jadeja. If you had compared the Indian spinners to Swann and Monty then I can agree with you to some extent. But the Aussie spinners are a joke ! Let them draft me into their team, I tweak the ball a lot better than those two. Besides, the Indian spinners are seasoned campaigners in Ranji Trophy games played on similar pitches which makes them a lot more experienced than Australia's spinners. I expect the Indian spinners to dominate once more in Hyderabad. Although, the Hyderabadi pitch could offer something to the quicks as well.

  • Ben on March 2, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    InswingingToeCrusher you are a joke. also, most our test players didn't even play a single game in the Big Bash this season and a few didn't even play in the International T20's, if you're going to comment on our domestic scene than you should actually know what's going on.

    Anyway, despite Xavier Dohertys shortcomings i think that Nathan Lyon proved in the first test and the rest of his test career beforehand that he is absolutely hopeless, it should be Doherty and Steve Smith in for Lyon and Starc. Starc is one of the best bowlers out but these conditions just don't suit him.

  • Tim on March 2, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    @Joseph Langford, to judge Doherty on what he did in 2 test matches at Brisbane and Adelaide is beyond foolish. Even to look at his first class career where he didn't blossom till the second half of it and has played 50% of games at Hobart is also unfair. Look at a bowler like Ravi Jadeja, Doherty is a better bowler, proven from a near identical ODI record bowling in far worse conditions. Jadeja was highly effective, Doherty will be too. Also Doherty isn't a bad bat, he has 2 first class 50s and a List A 50. His FC, List A and T20 averages are 13, 17 and 17, exceptional for a guy who will likely bat 11. If Doherty plays then Australia will be a stronger, more balanced side. We don't need 4 seamers here, they will perform better with more responsibility anyway.

  • Prem on March 2, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    "On grounds in India it's very easy to go for a lot more runs because they're smaller and have fast outfields," Clarke said.

    It's also cos Indians play spin really well.

  • Peter on March 2, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    @Meety. I read the same article and was gobsmacked! @Dravid_Gravitas. I think you are being too kind to the Aussies. Their bowlers have to step up considerably & the batting is still very much in development stage, too much so for this tour. @Nampally Replace a wicketkeeper with a bowler? Hmm, have you got ANY idea about cricket? @landl47, Pretty good summation, as I have said, we were always going to be on the back foot in India with these conditions. As you know, I am a NSW supporter & watch many of their games. The SCG is close to the spinnig wickets than all the other grounds & Smith, believe it or not, has really worked on his technique, batting with a much tighter control, using his feet to spinners. The images of his heaves to the onside with that ugly front foot swat is very much a rarely seen thing now, plus he has fc batting form. Definitely worth consideration. SOK would have made a HUGE difference to the balance.

  • brenta on March 1, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    If lyon is still playing in the team then australia have no hope.

  • Srinivas on March 1, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    Part4: Anybody who has the skill to control the pace of his innings as per the match situation, at least cannot be termed as one-dimensional. Look ugly, ungainly, get hit on the fingers, but hang-in there and score two fifties (as in Jamaica circa 2006) or get beaten, toil, sweat and conquer the demons to score an ugly looking century on a mine-field in Jamaica 2011 or look elegant, free flowing and score a superlative century as in Ahmedabad 2009 against Srilanka - Such a versatile player is anything but one-dimensional. Dravid has the skill and control to carry on at different levels and dimensions. He is the best man to do the defensive job for us. He has got the technique and he indeed has a role to play. Just because Statchin doesn't have that skill to carry on at different levels and dimensions, doesn't mean that Dravid is one-dimensional. In fact, it's the other way around. Statchin is one-dimensional and invariably fails when he buckles down. (TBC)