February 10, 2013

Spin could be Australia's Achilles heel in India

Picking a second spinner to partner Nathan Lyon, and how to bat on turning tracks will be the big questions for the side
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The clash between India and Australia promises to be a classic battle between spin and pace and experience and youth.

Australia's great strength is their hit-man squad of fast bowlers, who will be confronted by an experienced Indian batting line-up. How the young quicks cope with the conditions will play a big part in deciding the series, and it could also shape Sachin Tendulkar's immediate future. A good series might see him carry on in Test cricket, but another poor showing like the one he had against England may prompt him to retire.

Australia will be comforted by the success Jimmy Anderson had in India, and they will prefer to play three fast bowlers: Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc will be the first picks, and James Pattinson, if he is deemed ready, is likely to be preferred over Mitchell Johnson as the third. But that means Australia will be going in with two bowlers - Siddle and Pattinson - who haven't played any long-form cricket in over a month.

This summer Starc has had consistent success with late movement into right-hand batsmen at a lively pace - a delivery that the highly dangerous Virender Sehwag is most uncomfortable against. His opening partner Gautam Gambhir is, like most batsmen, vulnerable to the away-swinger early on.

Gambhir will be a prized early wicket, because he can attack spinners. Australia will be flustered if he gets on top of Nathan Lyon, who is a steady offspinner - no Graeme Swann, but tidy nonetheless.

However, none of Australia's other spinners has made a mark so far. Choosing the second spinner will be crucial. They may look to cover two bases by using Glenn Maxwell as a second spinner who can add some valuable middle-order runs. India should look to attack him from the outset to dent one of his great strengths - confidence.

If the Indian pitches for the series are raging turners, the other option would be to use medium-fast allrounder Moises Henriques as a third seamer and Xavier Doherty as the second frontline spinner.

Other than not having top-class spinners, Australia's most glaring weakness is batting against quality spin. If their batsmen were facing a traditional Indian side, full of wily spinners, it would have spelt trouble for them, but against this team, which is still trying to decide on its best attack, they will feel they have a chance.

The Australian batting order contains two areas of contention: who will open and where will Michael Clarke bat?

Shane Watson's return to top form in ODIs suggests he'll open with the ultra-aggressive David Warner. That is Australia's best opening combination and it lines up the batting order correctly, with Clarke at No. 4, where he's best suited. Clarke is the best player of spin in the Australian side, so he can't afford to bat any lower than No. 4, otherwise the Indian spinners could have the upper hand by the time he arrives at the crease. With Watson opening, it's likely Australia will have some runs on the board before Clarke has to face the spinners. That makes him a much more dangerous proposition.

That leaves the ungainly but highly effective Phil Hughes at No. 3 and opens up a spot for Usman Khawaja at No. 5. This will be a big test for Khawaja, as he is a bit leaden-footed to start with against spinners, but Australia have to unearth some young batsmen, especially in the middle order. Matthew Wade will bat at No. 6, with Maxwell coming at 7.

The make-up of India's attack will give a clue to how they propose to dismantle the Australian batting. As Australians traditionally play legspin better than the left-arm orthodox variety, I suspect India will choose two left-arm spinners to partner offspinner R Ashwin.

The type of surfaces the four Tests will be played on will have a big part in shaping the result. I expect the pitches to favour spin rather than pace. If that's the case, India will be favourites to win, but only if they have mentally recovered from being beaten by England.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vijayvenkatram on February 11, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Pace vs Spin - As English showed a few months ago, Indian spin attack is neither threatening nor Indians were a great player of spin. If MSD is asking for rank turners, the only reason would be to counter the aussie pace. I would think its just a question of how aussie pacemen bowl in Indian conditions and if they come good, think the contest would be even here.

    Experience vs Youth - This Indian team is not greatly experienced in playing 5 day games (not that most games go into the 5th day) and even if for argument we accept that it has the experience, it does not have the experience of winning.

    As usual its going to be a battle between few individuals and nothing more than that. Given that Aussies are underdogs, I would not be surprised if they go all out to attack, given India's vulnerablility to good pace attack as well as India's tendency to collapse under pressure.

  • on February 11, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    I follow the line of thought that says that we shouldn't play with a strength we don't have. In this case it's a spin attack. Lets play to our strength, it's pace bowling. And while India will no doubt prepare rank turners, an ordinary spin attack will get belted in India as much as any pace attack. In fact history shows that, until recently even good spin attacks get belted in India. In saying that I expect India to be better against us then England, the English gave them a wake up call about their home turf invincibilty and India will be more motivated to save face this time round.

  • on February 11, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    I really think the Indians are vulnerable against top class pace bowling and Siddle, Pattisnson and Staarc will be key. Even on these slow, low pitches, they can get wickets as the englishmen proved.I think the Indians are not high on confidence right now that can be quickly resolved if they win the first test. Australia have done many things right, flying in a set of players early and following up it with others in stages.Many of the Australians like Warner and Watson have played a lot in India and surely that counts for a lot. Remember the Indian spinners too are hardly world beaters.I also think that Johnson should play in the course of the series, the Indians dont like facing his slinging action and to my mind Doherty could be a better bet than Lyon as Monty was fairly successful in India. Australia should be open to making chances and not stuck with their formula. It will be a close series but India should win against a team without Ponting and hussey. Aussie tail will wag! Sridh

  • stormy16 on February 10, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Before the Eng series the scenarios would be totally different but now the reailty is Ind are vulenerable but surely not to Lyon/Maxwell/Dohrethy?? I would imagine India will tear these guys apart. If the highly talented Indian batting order cannot tear these three apart they may as well give up playing test cricket. Of the Aus new ball combination Starc and Johnson (is he even in) will pose the greatest challenge - there is no one even close to jimmy so dont get carried away with that idea. Siddle and Paternson I dont think will pose much of a problem on those wickets. The other issue Aus will have is mkaing enough runs to allow their bowlers a chance. Watson and Clark will hold the key with Warner as the dark horse. All three have Indian experience and have had success in India but the rest will struggle. Not many arrive in India for the first time and make alot of runs.

  • Kaze on February 13, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    I prefer to look to past series to judge strength. In the last series OZ gave the indians a hell of a run in the first 2 tests. That was an indian side with much more experienced batting than the current one. The key for me is Starc, if he gets his swing going at pace then the pitch becomes irrelevant. It will be a torrid time for an indian side whose younger players are notoriously terrible against pace bowling. My money is on OZ to thrash india , they might struggle at times against the spin but I will back them to do the job.

  • on February 12, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    Aussie's are really going to miss Steve O'keefe and he is far better spinner/bat compared to Lyon or Doherty... India would be really happy with Mike Hussey just announcing his retirement just before this series...

    Aussie XI against 1st Test: Warner, Ed Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Wade, Maxwell, Johnson, Pattison, Starc, Lyon

  • wellrounded87 on February 12, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    Not many people giving Lyon a chance here. He's proved a solid spinner and lumping him in with Doherty Maxwell and Smith is unfair. He's a much better spinner than these guys. He might not be a future great but he's good enough to take wickets when needed and also apply some pressure with good flight and drift. Has everyone forgot how he dismantled SL in SL? I hope he does really well this series to shut up the naysayers. I also hope Johnson can put in a good performance he's been bowling very well lately, much more consistent than he used to be. Still waiting for the next destructive spell from him.

    As far as India is concerned i'm interested to see how Pujara and Kohli go. Both show plenty of potential and i think will be the hardest men for us to dispose of. I'm of course assuming Tendulkar and Sehwag continue slipping into senility and don't rediscover their youth in this series.

  • krishna_cricketfan on February 11, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    Time and again, it has been proved that good pace attack and/or spin attack can defeat India. I am not sure why spin is always highlighted. Good bowlers depend on their skills and to an extent on the pitch. Legend like McGrath have shown that. Aussies won a test series in India with pace attack. Even the 2001 series was a nail biter. That again was due to McGrath and others. If the Australian bowlers bowl to their potential, Indians will have tough time. The batting lineup is not what it used to be. Is anyone in form? Did not the England bowlers show where we stand? So this is going to be a tough series for India. Indian bowling the less said the better.

  • Raki99 on February 11, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    Neither team is capable of taking 20 wickets, Australia have good pace attack thats it but they don't have even a avarage spinners, England won beacuse of their spin attack in india, But again India is a hopelless team when it comes to Test cricket. Their batsman and bowlers are all mediocore. Tendulkar is just playing to get to 200 test matches. He is done and dusted same can be said about sehwag. Dhoni as a captain in test cricket is joke. i see a tie or a aus win in this series. BCCI thanks for droping Ghambir as he was a giving nice slip cathing practice to the opposition... India's bolwing is mess too the spinners are horrible and pacers don't have enough pace. 5 years from now we will only have three nations playing test cricket. England Australia and south africa.

  • NP_NY on February 11, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    Not to worry Ian. Looks like spin is going to be India's achilles heel too. Actually India's bowling is going to be India's achilles heel....and India's opening batsmen....and India's middle order. I'd love for the Indian team to prove me wrong though. I strongly doubt they will.

  • vijayvenkatram on February 11, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Pace vs Spin - As English showed a few months ago, Indian spin attack is neither threatening nor Indians were a great player of spin. If MSD is asking for rank turners, the only reason would be to counter the aussie pace. I would think its just a question of how aussie pacemen bowl in Indian conditions and if they come good, think the contest would be even here.

    Experience vs Youth - This Indian team is not greatly experienced in playing 5 day games (not that most games go into the 5th day) and even if for argument we accept that it has the experience, it does not have the experience of winning.

    As usual its going to be a battle between few individuals and nothing more than that. Given that Aussies are underdogs, I would not be surprised if they go all out to attack, given India's vulnerablility to good pace attack as well as India's tendency to collapse under pressure.

  • on February 11, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    I follow the line of thought that says that we shouldn't play with a strength we don't have. In this case it's a spin attack. Lets play to our strength, it's pace bowling. And while India will no doubt prepare rank turners, an ordinary spin attack will get belted in India as much as any pace attack. In fact history shows that, until recently even good spin attacks get belted in India. In saying that I expect India to be better against us then England, the English gave them a wake up call about their home turf invincibilty and India will be more motivated to save face this time round.

  • on February 11, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    I really think the Indians are vulnerable against top class pace bowling and Siddle, Pattisnson and Staarc will be key. Even on these slow, low pitches, they can get wickets as the englishmen proved.I think the Indians are not high on confidence right now that can be quickly resolved if they win the first test. Australia have done many things right, flying in a set of players early and following up it with others in stages.Many of the Australians like Warner and Watson have played a lot in India and surely that counts for a lot. Remember the Indian spinners too are hardly world beaters.I also think that Johnson should play in the course of the series, the Indians dont like facing his slinging action and to my mind Doherty could be a better bet than Lyon as Monty was fairly successful in India. Australia should be open to making chances and not stuck with their formula. It will be a close series but India should win against a team without Ponting and hussey. Aussie tail will wag! Sridh

  • stormy16 on February 10, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Before the Eng series the scenarios would be totally different but now the reailty is Ind are vulenerable but surely not to Lyon/Maxwell/Dohrethy?? I would imagine India will tear these guys apart. If the highly talented Indian batting order cannot tear these three apart they may as well give up playing test cricket. Of the Aus new ball combination Starc and Johnson (is he even in) will pose the greatest challenge - there is no one even close to jimmy so dont get carried away with that idea. Siddle and Paternson I dont think will pose much of a problem on those wickets. The other issue Aus will have is mkaing enough runs to allow their bowlers a chance. Watson and Clark will hold the key with Warner as the dark horse. All three have Indian experience and have had success in India but the rest will struggle. Not many arrive in India for the first time and make alot of runs.

  • Kaze on February 13, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    I prefer to look to past series to judge strength. In the last series OZ gave the indians a hell of a run in the first 2 tests. That was an indian side with much more experienced batting than the current one. The key for me is Starc, if he gets his swing going at pace then the pitch becomes irrelevant. It will be a torrid time for an indian side whose younger players are notoriously terrible against pace bowling. My money is on OZ to thrash india , they might struggle at times against the spin but I will back them to do the job.

  • on February 12, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    Aussie's are really going to miss Steve O'keefe and he is far better spinner/bat compared to Lyon or Doherty... India would be really happy with Mike Hussey just announcing his retirement just before this series...

    Aussie XI against 1st Test: Warner, Ed Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Wade, Maxwell, Johnson, Pattison, Starc, Lyon

  • wellrounded87 on February 12, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    Not many people giving Lyon a chance here. He's proved a solid spinner and lumping him in with Doherty Maxwell and Smith is unfair. He's a much better spinner than these guys. He might not be a future great but he's good enough to take wickets when needed and also apply some pressure with good flight and drift. Has everyone forgot how he dismantled SL in SL? I hope he does really well this series to shut up the naysayers. I also hope Johnson can put in a good performance he's been bowling very well lately, much more consistent than he used to be. Still waiting for the next destructive spell from him.

    As far as India is concerned i'm interested to see how Pujara and Kohli go. Both show plenty of potential and i think will be the hardest men for us to dispose of. I'm of course assuming Tendulkar and Sehwag continue slipping into senility and don't rediscover their youth in this series.

  • krishna_cricketfan on February 11, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    Time and again, it has been proved that good pace attack and/or spin attack can defeat India. I am not sure why spin is always highlighted. Good bowlers depend on their skills and to an extent on the pitch. Legend like McGrath have shown that. Aussies won a test series in India with pace attack. Even the 2001 series was a nail biter. That again was due to McGrath and others. If the Australian bowlers bowl to their potential, Indians will have tough time. The batting lineup is not what it used to be. Is anyone in form? Did not the England bowlers show where we stand? So this is going to be a tough series for India. Indian bowling the less said the better.

  • Raki99 on February 11, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    Neither team is capable of taking 20 wickets, Australia have good pace attack thats it but they don't have even a avarage spinners, England won beacuse of their spin attack in india, But again India is a hopelless team when it comes to Test cricket. Their batsman and bowlers are all mediocore. Tendulkar is just playing to get to 200 test matches. He is done and dusted same can be said about sehwag. Dhoni as a captain in test cricket is joke. i see a tie or a aus win in this series. BCCI thanks for droping Ghambir as he was a giving nice slip cathing practice to the opposition... India's bolwing is mess too the spinners are horrible and pacers don't have enough pace. 5 years from now we will only have three nations playing test cricket. England Australia and south africa.

  • NP_NY on February 11, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    Not to worry Ian. Looks like spin is going to be India's achilles heel too. Actually India's bowling is going to be India's achilles heel....and India's opening batsmen....and India's middle order. I'd love for the Indian team to prove me wrong though. I strongly doubt they will.

  • GoofyJerryTom on February 11, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    In spite of the Australian team's "raw"ness, I will bet on them. Sehwag's general attitude, recent lack of form and even practice make him vulnerable against genuine pace. Vijay hasn't done anything in the Ranji season although he has scored two hundreds in two Irani trophy matches, but both these were against mediocre bowling attacks of Mumbai and Rajasthan. If Dhawan gets to open with Sehwag, he was quite uncomfortable against genuine pace in WI. A lot will depend on the middle order - only Pujara inspires some confidence there. Kohli didnt do much against England and how sachin fares against the Aussie quicks remains to be seen. He had scored a century against the Railways before the English series but then was quite a flop against the English after that century. Jadeja will be an unknown quantity and Dhoni's struggles in Tests are well known. Indian bowling is hopeless, trundlers bowling around 125k and spinners who couldn't trouble the English. I still fancy Australia winning.

  • paps123 on February 11, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    Australia will rue not bring Steve O'keefe to India. Even if The play Maxwell, it would be 2 Off spinners, taking Lyon as 1st choice spinner. O'keefe would have provided variety and is pretty good with the willow too. Also India will have 5-6 right handers in their top 7. Playing Doherty would weaken the batting line up and bits and pieces spinners like Samit Patil would get hammered.They must play 2 spinners to create ripples in India, even if they are not top notch. On turners, you never know.

  • on February 11, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Well, I'd say it's gonna be a very hard task for Clarke and Co. to find the playing 11, especially in the bowling department. Johnson and Starc have shown some really good performances lately, plus Johnson can come handy with the bat as well. On the other hand, Jackson Bird bowled brilliantly against Sri Lanka and it will be very hard to deny him a spot. Pattinson always bowls with fire in his belly, whenever he's not injured. And there's our one-man-army in the form of Siddle. By far, he's the only fast bowler to get a place in the playing 11 by default, 'cause Australia always saves him for Test cricket. Their fast bowling department is over the top right now. The only worry is in the spin department-- neither Lyon nor Doherty is a top class spinner; same is the case with all rounders Smith and Maxwell. They can bowl spin but aren't great turners.

  • boston_pride on February 11, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    Ian chappel is too brilliant a man not to be involved in Aus Cricket... Chappell's school of thought has already borne fruit in the aggressve laeadership of Clarke with the idea of always taking the game forward... Listen to Warne... Chuck Howard and let this man run Aus Cricket... I am sure we will be back dominating sooner than later

  • redneck on February 11, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    the point has to be that the 3rd aussie quick is still miles better than our 2nd spinner. maxwell isnt an option worth considering unless your looking to cheapen the once coverted baggy green that we now hand out half a dozen times a year to undeserving players!!! better off playing our strengths which is pace bowling and late swing. i would like to think that the camron white saga in the 08 tour would have taught us that playing someone equally inept at batting and bowling spin under the all rounder tag is not going to accomplish anything. i still think if aus toil in the field for a day watson is going to get called on ready to bowl or not. he is the best we have in the art of reverse swing and if we are'nt travelling well in the field i think clarke wont be able to hold back. if we had swann and monty then by all means play 2 spinners but we dont so we need to play to our strenghts meaning no doherty or maxwell!!! @TommytuckerSaffa and yet he is still better than tahir!!!

  • subbass on February 11, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Be interesting to see what the crowds are like for the Tests. Hopefully they are packed but alas that will surely only happen if India are dominating Australia and I can't see that happening. Expect a similar kind of series as the England one. Not really close and Australia winning the series due to a good seam attack. I hope to be wrong though !

  • MrKricket on February 11, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    So Ed Cowan is off Chappelli's Xmas list? No mention of him. All the commentators seem to love Khawaja but he hasn't produced anything of note yet after many chances - will he be the Mark Ramprakash/Graham Hick of Australia? Selected every now and again, expected to perform miracles and then dropped after a couple of games.

    I am surprised the Indian fans are so down on their teams chances. If Aust can draw this series most in Aus would be deliriously happy!

  • Kolpak1989 on February 11, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    I don't agree with Chappelli on this. Maxwell isn't a good enough bat OR a good enough bowler to be in the test side and Wade probably isn't a good enough bat to be at 6. Warner and Watson to open, followed by Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Doolan is the best batting line up. It's a crime that Doolan wasn't included in the squad.

  • Silverbails on February 10, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    If the Aussies play to their strengths, then they should easily follow England's recent triumph in the sub-continent. A 4 - 0 drubbing may even be on the cards, given how this Indian Test team simply doesn't seem to all that bothered about being thrashed recently in almost all Tests, particularly those abroad. Sadly, the BCCI doesn't seem to make it any easier for the team to come out of the doldrums in the Test match arena, as the next IPL season is now almost upon us again, and I'm sure that that's what most of these so-called Test cricketers' are REALLY looking forward to!! Really sad, but ultimately true, I suspect...come on Team India, please PROVE your many doubters' in Test cricket WRONG!!...

  • Alexk400 on February 10, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    To beat india is easy. Pace or great spin combination England have. If aussie can bounce ball chest high in offstump on dead indian pitches and field like a ring in offside. Each batsman has weakness. Fast and bounce will beat this indian team. Pujara , Kohli all ok when ball do not bounce. I saw pujara and kohli are impulsive players. They do not like to be shut down with discipline bowling , so they make some drastic way to attack and lose wicket. If aussies can make this players play defensive for hours , aussie will win. Hilfenhaus is key again. Also india do not have bowling to take 20 wickets. if india can't post mammoth score , they can't take 20wickets because there will be no pressure on aussie batsman. Watson can destroy indian spin bowling. if he can do sixers barrage , i want watson in middle order that will destroy india. Aussie can win 4-0 easy. India is decent odi team bad test team because indian openers struggling.

  • blink182alex on February 10, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    Has everyone forgot about Jackson Bird? He was our most consistent bowler in his two tests. I would start with 3 genuine quicks as you cannot leave out a guy like Starc for Doherty, no matter what the wicket is like. Siddle and Starc are certs as is Lyon, then we have Pattinson, Bird or Johnson for the other spot. Johnson is bowling as consistent as he has since 08/09 i think this summer.

    The start will be key, India are down, Australia need to stat well and keep India down. Clarke will have his toughest test as captain, lets just all hope Steve Smith doesn't play.

  • Jaffa79 on February 10, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    I want Cowan, Hughes, Smith and Maxwell to score runs and Doherty and Johnson to take wickets. Hopefully, this will keep them in the team.

  • on February 10, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    If the pitches are of the low, slow variety such as the one at Nagpur in the recent England series, Australia would be crazy to omit Cowan. Those kind of pitches are very difficult to score runs on quickly and require the patience to bat at 2.5 runs an over for days. Cowan has that ability in spades, whereas Warner and Watson do not. We shouldn't go in with two firebrand openers when a traditional corpse-with-pads opener is what is required in the conditions.

  • Nutcutlet on February 10, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    I'm interested to see how the Australian tourists are received. Has the BCCI negotiated a satisfactory (i.e. extortionate) price with Channel 9 for broadcasting rights? Is C9 prepared to meet it? Is there to be an embargo on Oz press photographers/ will the BCCI insist that it has a monopoly of pictures of the cricket? Will there be a similar embargo on discussion of the the DRS on BCCI TV comm if Australia has to put up with Gavaskar/ Shastri & co who shd have Masters degrees in kowtowing? The BCCI really made it clear that England were there under sufferance & they'd rather Eng wasn't touring at all. That's how welcome England & the Eng press were made by the home board. Of course, there may have been a cricketing reason as the talk was of Revenge before the Test series began - but that in essence was just a marketing ploy - to whip up some interest even if that one fell rather flat as India failed to deliver on the hype. Oh yes, India's friendly, but the board deals in xenophobia.

  • on February 10, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    brilliant plan given by chappell in this interview just follow that clarke and if u go and follow this plan u can beat india 4-0 in the series

  • JohnSM on February 10, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    An epic four test battle is about to begin. One mediocre test team, India. and another test side we are not able to judge at all. Australia have displayed everything from mediocrity to sheer brilliance in the last 2 years. Its fascinating watching that team perform. Their pace attack is obviously their strength. I expect Pattinson to rip through our(indian) top order without much trouble. Swing or no swing, that guy will be a tough gun to face. Now starc gets great movement in helpful conditions. In Chennai however, he will face a dead, slow pitch and might consider faking an injury. Then there's their fastest, most talented and most unpredictable bowler, Mitchell Johnson who can be devastating or just depressing to watch. I wonder which Johnson will turn up though.

    The greatest enemy the Aussie attack faces in India is not the indian team but energy sapping conditions and dead, good-for-nothing substandard pitches. Oh an no DRS.

  • on February 10, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    Steve O'keefe should have been picked since Michael Beer was declared unfit. He shows he spins the ball and looks more threatening than Maxwell and Doherty. Doherty is not a test spinner and the Australian selectors need to think of somewhere else to go in terms of left arm spin. Picking two right arm off spinners against the indian batting line up is questionable because most of the indian batting line up are right handed batsmen so the ball will be floating into the them sitting up to be smacked by batsmen who like playing against spin.

    The australian team which should play in the 1st test regardless of the squad selection should be...

    Warner Watson Hughes Hodge Clarke(c) Haddin (wkt) Johnson Patterson Siddle Lyon O'keefe

    Australia need to play 5 bowlers in India and offers plenty of bowling options to Michael Clarke and clarke to win against India needs to play his best team and and this would be it.

  • shillingsworth on February 10, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    @LillianThomson - Your theory is far too simplistic. You fail to mention the 3rd series in the sub continent in 2012. In Sri Lanka, England (with 2 spinners) lost the first test and then, having reverted to one spinner, went on to win the next one.

  • CricketCoachDB on February 10, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    So much depends on whether the Indians can prepare pitches that negate the Aussie pace attack and Ashwin returning to form that they can still bowl Australia out on those pitches. Although the Aussie spin attack is weak, Lyon may surprise people: although he lacks turn, fast spinners can take wickets on Indian pitches. If the pitches are too flat for a 3-pace 1-spin attack to prosper, the Aussies may be forced into an early rethink like England and give Doherty a chance. One tip I will make: Warner to bat like Sehwag in his prime and Pietersen in the last series and score hundreds at a rapid rate.

    To Ian Chappell-but WILL Clarke bat at 4? He seems as attached to a lower position as Shiv Chanderpaul is!

  • Alexk400 on February 10, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Fight between two bad teams.

  • Apocalypse_EX on February 10, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    @crikketlover Australia won the 2004 series in India 2-1. Infact Australia won the series with ease under Gilchrist's captaincy. It was after this that the team became regarded as the best. They did lose the 2005 ashes(england won both the matches in which macgrath didnt play after he tripped over a cricket ball) but I think they more than made up for it with that 5-0 whitewash in the next ashes(which is when the team officially became a part of folklore)

  • on February 10, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    @Crickketlover - "even with McGrath and Warne the two best bowlers any captain would love to have in the team, Aus could not win a test series in India."

    Really? How about this one? http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/60769.html

  • OttawaRocks on February 10, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    Australia can just use their pace to blitz through the Indian batsmen and not worry about the spin at all. Basically, these days India is having trouble in the batting and bowling department. In the past, India had it together with the batting and if the bowling faltered the batting would rescue the result. Not these days. So while India is still sorting it out Australia might still be able to pull out the win.

  • crickketlover on February 10, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    I think it is going to be a very close series. Indian batsmen have weakness facing pace and swing. If the Aussie pace bowlers are as accurate and effective as England pacers, Aus has a great chance of winning. Having siad that even with McGrath and Warne the two best bowlers any captain would love to have in the team, Aus could not win a test series in India.

  • StatisticsRocks on February 10, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    How and from where are we going to take 20 wickets to win a test match agianst Australia. To add to our bowling woes our batting has been failing miserably purely due to lack of technique, even on dead pitches. Forget revenge, lets just hope we dont recieve a whitewash at home.

  • on February 10, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    @JMcilhinney, While the Aussies can watch and examine the recent England V India series as much as they want, the two teams are in fact almost polar opposites. Englands top order is dour, Australia's aggressive. KP and Clarke, take completely different approaches. England have no Starc, Australia no Panesar. Australia will perhaps take heart that younger guys like Root can go there and do well, that India don't have the spinners to simply tear through batsmen inexperienced in subcontinental conditions, but that's about it. They are going to need different approaches. I think most of it is going to hang on Clarke, Hughes, Wade, Lyon and Starc.

  • on February 10, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @Lillian Thomson, the Aussies started their last tour of Sri Lanka with a spinner and three quicks, guess what?? They WON!!! Australia has vastly different resources to England and there's no point playing a guy like Doherty who'll probably get carted and leaving out a guy like Starc, who may just crash through 3-4 wickets in a spell of fast full bowling. Its all about going in with your best xi, exerting pressure and taking your chances. Australia has gone through tours of SL and the West Indies undefeated playing just one spinner in recent times, i'm not sure i'd be doing anything to change that.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on February 10, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    It's common knowledge to all cricket fans that Australia haven't had a test-quality spinner since Warne. And right now they've effectively hung out the white flag by using a Seamer (Lyon) to fill the spinner's role. The first rule of spin bowling is to try to turn the ball. Lyon doesn't do that, he bowls darts. That one well known fact tells you all you need to know about cricket standards down-under.

    And all of this coming at a time when England's spin attack: with the long-established biggest turner of the ball in world cricket for the last five years in Swann, as well as the potent Monty Panesar - both players the product of the excellent English county system, stand head and shoulders above anything Australia can produce.

    Why can't Australia produce spinners like these? Why can't Australia produce a bowler who can spin the ball? The short answer is ask them. :0

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 10, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Is the 'spinner' nathan lyon playing? You know the one that doesnt spin the ball and bowls quick?? Good luck.

  • shuvo_bba on February 10, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    I don't feel right to go with 2 spinners as Aussie pacemen in recent years have shown that they are really one of few's in this format of game. Moreover, Starc, Siddle and Patto are already more fiery than English seam bowling. But Doherty could have been given a chance and even Henriques for Maxwell. Aussies certainly have the upper hand to take the series comfortably should i say.

  • LillianThomson on February 10, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    Twice in 2012 England started a subcontinetntal Test series with 3 quicks plus an off-spinner. Both times they lost, and had to recall a slow left-armer in place of the pointless third quick.

    If Australia honestly expect to do well with 3 quicks, a moderate offie and an all-rounder bowling off-spin then they are delusional.

  • on February 10, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    @ NairUSA GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT. Ishant ,Dinda, bowl at 135+. and Yadav is even faster then them. Anderson did not bowl fast neither did Junaid Khan. Pace isn't a big factor on Indian pitches , never has been. Even Steyn bowled under 90mph for his success here.

  • Paras.Rishi on February 10, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Lyon or any domestic cricketer from Australia would prove to be a better spinner in India than Warne.

  • on February 10, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    How can you write an article about the bleeding obvious and still get it wrong? Lyon might go ok but he'll need support ie. a 2nd proper spinner. Playing a part time spin option who doesn't turn it away from the bat is suicide - ask Samit Patel. Playing 3 seamers at Mumbai is plain stupid and only Clarke/Watson are known quantities in these conditions with the bat. I think talking about pace combinations is completely missing the point - they'll be playing 2 proper seamers and both will have to reverse swing it, that's it - 1 line. Talking about the massive holes in Australia's selection strategy is more to the point.

    Lucky they are playing India, who have plenty of problems themselves. Unless they play a 3rd spinner and Ashwin plays as a batsman, I can't see them ripping through Australia. Seam attack except for Yadav is pretty poor as well. Batting isn't too clever either......

  • maddinson on February 10, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Spinners are not the strength of OZ, they have a far better fast bowling attack than England. Starc, Pattinson and Siddle with Lyon should not find much trouble against this Indian team even in their conditions.

  • on February 10, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Nobody can beat India as long as we have CAPTAIN COOL at the top... :)

  • bumsonseats on February 10, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    nothing they can do about, the cupboard is bare in regards to spinners. but not sure it will hurt them. pace and more pace is the answer. you cannot use something you don't have. i think 2 - 2,but i expect india or the bcci will have something waiting for australia. will it be lack or spinning practice games or lack of playing against spinners or quality spinners. they tried it against england over some perceived slight over their trouncing they got in the uk, and from memory they were saying similar against australia when equally hammered in oz. or maybe it will a problem with the aussies tv coverage or lack of giving visa's to players. you always get something when touring india.

  • liz1558 on February 10, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    please Australia, please come to England with 6/7 lefties; please be that naive. we promise not to produce turning tracks for Swann.

  • SamRoy on February 10, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    Even India has a lot of problems with only Pujara and Kohli looking good. Rest are more or less likely to fail. I think I will say advantage Australia if they play spin well. India doesn't have anymore champion spinners (Though Ojha is still a better spinner than Lyon).

  • Rahul_78 on February 10, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    I dont think that Ashwin and Ojha are going to give any nightmares to OZ batsmen. Ashwin is wayward and Ojha is not going to run through the sides.OZ has lots of quality in their bowling attack and as demonstrated amply by Anderson and co that quality fast bowlers will trouble the Indian batting sans Dravid and Laxman. Indias success will depend on its openers. If they manage to see of opening spells then middle order can score runs against the spin of OZ. As of now neither Gambhir nor Sehwag is assured of their place in the side. Also both are low in confidence and runs. Indian think tank needs to come up with a surprise and may be open with Rahane and Jafar and play Gambhir at 3 and Shewag at 5. They are much better bait in the middle order then someone like Raina who lacks technic and Rohit who lacks consistency and temperament.

  • NairUSA on February 10, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    What? There is no mention of india's fearsome 'medium pace' attack? The australian batsmen are probably having nightmares about the gentle off cutters and wicked slow balls that they will face on their tour. They would also need special body armor to fend off those 123 kmph guided missiles. The author talks about lack of quality wily spinners in the Indian team. Little does he know that those would-be spinners have all now become innocuous medium pacers to fit into the IPL mold.

  • on February 10, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Australia don't even have a sole frontline spinner to match Panesar & Swann, let alone two. The batting lineup poses questions, with 2 spots in the top 6/7 up for grabs. They'll play Maxwell as a 2nd spin option; he's probably as threatening as Doherty and obviously bats a lot better. No spot for Cowan? Surely they need someone to play the anchor role, as Compton did in England's top order? With Watson, Warner and Hughes in the top order, the Aussies could find themselves several down for not many.

  • Vivek_Singh3089 on February 10, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Aussies has the upper hand...with the kind of selectors in our selection committee plus the injury of our premier fast bowlers does dims the chance of India.....barring Ishant the other pace bowlers are inexperienced while the spin bowling is also struggling...over all there is still a lot of issues which India has to look after...Pujara Tendulkar & Kohli has to perform with the bat....

  • on February 10, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    What really gets me is that Steve O'Keefe wasn't chosen instead of Xavier Doherty. He will take wickets, has the best average of any of our spinners and can bat really well. He would have balanced the side nicely. I would love to see our quicks do well, but I can't really see the pitches suiting them, rather suiting spinners, and ours are very 2nd rate. We can only hope and pray

  • on February 10, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Very well written.The key to India is to play out the new ball without loosing too many wickets.Once the new ball is played out, Australia had to really toil hard for their wickets specially in the months of Feb-March as the summer approaches, the conditions becomes drier after each passing day, meaning assistance for spinners. But having said that, the playing out new ball is itself a daunting task for the indian batters as the current Indian team's top order is most vulnerable. Eagerly waiting for Feb - 22.

  • kharidra on February 10, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Under normal conditions Spinners have generally been effective only when there is some kind of pressure built up. Under such pressure batsman have more than just a single thought cropping up while at the crease. Such confused thinking is enough in inducing a delay in responding to the ball hurled up by the spinner. The delayed response results in false stroke that could result in the dismissal and downfall of wicket. A rank turning wicket is of course a mine field where vulnerability is not limited to ordinary mortals but even the greats have succumbed even notwithstanding the footwork at the crease. While we put aside such rank turners and delve into sportive pitches then the vulnerability is more to do with pressure and the mindset of the batsman and the capability to deal with such pressure. Generally when such pressure acts on the batsman even a normally good ball from a spinner assumes wicket taking proportions with batsman's feet moving nowhere and ends up in soft dismissals.

  • Rahulbose on February 10, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    This series is in Feb-March there wont be as much swing as during the Eng series in Winter. The Aussie quicks will be tested, though the India batting lineup is not that great at the moment. As for spin, Indian batsmen showed during Eng series they are no longer masters of the art. Preparing spin friendly wickets will even the odds for a potential Aussie win by making Lyon a factor.

  • shrastogi on February 10, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    If Dhoni again asks for turning tracks I would be much more willing to provide him such pitches. The aussie spin attack is not even half as good as english and hence that strategy makes sense. Thankfully the buildup to the series is muted as ESPN Star Sports has learnt their lesson. Nobody is talking of revenge. The Indian team is young and they should be happy winning the series rather than hope for a 4-0 result. If India hadnt made those turning tracks against England we would have won 1-0 or 2-0. At the sametime the young Indian spinners are not in the same class as their predecessors but should prove to be handful for young aussie batting. Australia's strength is their pace bowling which India should look to dent.

  • jmcilhinney on February 10, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I'm quite sure that Australia will be examining very closely what England did and didn't do well against India. The obvious point is that they were significantly more effective playing two frontline spinners, although I don't think Australia have two frontline spinners to match Swann and Panesar right now. That said, Australia's pace attack are likely to be more effective as Anderson showed what could be done but the likes of Broad and Bresnan were ineffective due to carrying injuries. From the point of view of playing Maxwell, the success of Joe Root with the ball should also be encouragement to Australia. If Australia can get on top early then I suspect that India will crumble. After losing 4-0 in England they came to Australia with hope but as soon as Australia started to get on top they looked like they were already thinking of the plane home. After losing to England at home also, early success by Australia may be enough to dissolve any fight they have left.

  • jmcilhinney on February 10, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I'm quite sure that Australia will be examining very closely what England did and didn't do well against India. The obvious point is that they were significantly more effective playing two frontline spinners, although I don't think Australia have two frontline spinners to match Swann and Panesar right now. That said, Australia's pace attack are likely to be more effective as Anderson showed what could be done but the likes of Broad and Bresnan were ineffective due to carrying injuries. From the point of view of playing Maxwell, the success of Joe Root with the ball should also be encouragement to Australia. If Australia can get on top early then I suspect that India will crumble. After losing 4-0 in England they came to Australia with hope but as soon as Australia started to get on top they looked like they were already thinking of the plane home. After losing to England at home also, early success by Australia may be enough to dissolve any fight they have left.

  • shrastogi on February 10, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    If Dhoni again asks for turning tracks I would be much more willing to provide him such pitches. The aussie spin attack is not even half as good as english and hence that strategy makes sense. Thankfully the buildup to the series is muted as ESPN Star Sports has learnt their lesson. Nobody is talking of revenge. The Indian team is young and they should be happy winning the series rather than hope for a 4-0 result. If India hadnt made those turning tracks against England we would have won 1-0 or 2-0. At the sametime the young Indian spinners are not in the same class as their predecessors but should prove to be handful for young aussie batting. Australia's strength is their pace bowling which India should look to dent.

  • Rahulbose on February 10, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    This series is in Feb-March there wont be as much swing as during the Eng series in Winter. The Aussie quicks will be tested, though the India batting lineup is not that great at the moment. As for spin, Indian batsmen showed during Eng series they are no longer masters of the art. Preparing spin friendly wickets will even the odds for a potential Aussie win by making Lyon a factor.

  • kharidra on February 10, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Under normal conditions Spinners have generally been effective only when there is some kind of pressure built up. Under such pressure batsman have more than just a single thought cropping up while at the crease. Such confused thinking is enough in inducing a delay in responding to the ball hurled up by the spinner. The delayed response results in false stroke that could result in the dismissal and downfall of wicket. A rank turning wicket is of course a mine field where vulnerability is not limited to ordinary mortals but even the greats have succumbed even notwithstanding the footwork at the crease. While we put aside such rank turners and delve into sportive pitches then the vulnerability is more to do with pressure and the mindset of the batsman and the capability to deal with such pressure. Generally when such pressure acts on the batsman even a normally good ball from a spinner assumes wicket taking proportions with batsman's feet moving nowhere and ends up in soft dismissals.

  • on February 10, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Very well written.The key to India is to play out the new ball without loosing too many wickets.Once the new ball is played out, Australia had to really toil hard for their wickets specially in the months of Feb-March as the summer approaches, the conditions becomes drier after each passing day, meaning assistance for spinners. But having said that, the playing out new ball is itself a daunting task for the indian batters as the current Indian team's top order is most vulnerable. Eagerly waiting for Feb - 22.

  • on February 10, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    What really gets me is that Steve O'Keefe wasn't chosen instead of Xavier Doherty. He will take wickets, has the best average of any of our spinners and can bat really well. He would have balanced the side nicely. I would love to see our quicks do well, but I can't really see the pitches suiting them, rather suiting spinners, and ours are very 2nd rate. We can only hope and pray

  • Vivek_Singh3089 on February 10, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Aussies has the upper hand...with the kind of selectors in our selection committee plus the injury of our premier fast bowlers does dims the chance of India.....barring Ishant the other pace bowlers are inexperienced while the spin bowling is also struggling...over all there is still a lot of issues which India has to look after...Pujara Tendulkar & Kohli has to perform with the bat....

  • on February 10, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Australia don't even have a sole frontline spinner to match Panesar & Swann, let alone two. The batting lineup poses questions, with 2 spots in the top 6/7 up for grabs. They'll play Maxwell as a 2nd spin option; he's probably as threatening as Doherty and obviously bats a lot better. No spot for Cowan? Surely they need someone to play the anchor role, as Compton did in England's top order? With Watson, Warner and Hughes in the top order, the Aussies could find themselves several down for not many.

  • NairUSA on February 10, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    What? There is no mention of india's fearsome 'medium pace' attack? The australian batsmen are probably having nightmares about the gentle off cutters and wicked slow balls that they will face on their tour. They would also need special body armor to fend off those 123 kmph guided missiles. The author talks about lack of quality wily spinners in the Indian team. Little does he know that those would-be spinners have all now become innocuous medium pacers to fit into the IPL mold.

  • Rahul_78 on February 10, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    I dont think that Ashwin and Ojha are going to give any nightmares to OZ batsmen. Ashwin is wayward and Ojha is not going to run through the sides.OZ has lots of quality in their bowling attack and as demonstrated amply by Anderson and co that quality fast bowlers will trouble the Indian batting sans Dravid and Laxman. Indias success will depend on its openers. If they manage to see of opening spells then middle order can score runs against the spin of OZ. As of now neither Gambhir nor Sehwag is assured of their place in the side. Also both are low in confidence and runs. Indian think tank needs to come up with a surprise and may be open with Rahane and Jafar and play Gambhir at 3 and Shewag at 5. They are much better bait in the middle order then someone like Raina who lacks technic and Rohit who lacks consistency and temperament.