Mitchell Johnson, the Australia fast bowler, has identified Virender Sehwag as the main obstacle to his team's bowling attack, one he felt he can overcome by subjecting the India opener to a barrage of short balls.
"Last time when we were over here we came out and he was hitting good balls for four or six, you look up at the scoreboard and he's almost 50," Johnson said. "Sehwag is someone we can bowl a lot of short balls to. I don't think he's too confident with the short ball early."
Apart from Johnson, Australia boast of a squad with several pace options including Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter George and Shane Watson. The short ball, Watson said, could be a significant weapon against a strong Indian batting line-up. "There are a few things we know we can make the most of with, hopefully, some of the Indian batsmen. I think with a few guys it doesn't necessarily have to be raw pace, but getting a few short balls up a few of their top-order batsmen is going to be really important, to set the tone for our bowling side."
Australia have two frontline spinners in their squad - Nathan Hauritz and Steven Smith - but they could be supported by a raft of part-timers including Michael Clarke, Simon Katich and Marcus North, all of whom have five-fors at the Test level. Clarke's best of 6 for 9 came in Mumbai in 2004 but troubles with his back have limited his left-arm spin in the recent past. Offspinner North recently delivered a match-winning performance with the ball, against Pakistan at Lord's, while Katich, who bowls left-arm chinaman, has career-best figures of 6 for 65.
"I think more people get enjoyment out of watching me bowl than bat," Katich said. "But now we need an even spread of contributors. The spinners have a big workload here. I was bowling for about three or four weeks before we came over, preparing myself to help out."