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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014
In a quandary over spin options
MVL Manikantan, Hindustan Times
Chennai, February 27, 2013
First Published: 00:01 IST(27/2/2013)
Last Updated: 00:03 IST(27/2/2013)

When conditions are alien, it is only natural to play according to one's strengths. Australia were confident when they opted to go into the first Test with three pacers, a pace bowling all-rounder and a lone spinner despite the fact that the pitch didn't have a blade of grass. It resulted in an eight-wicket loss.

Having watched the copious turn afforded by the Chennai pitch, skipper Michael Clarke can assume the track for the second Test in Hyderabad would be similar.

This opens up a debate whether Australia should persist with pace or pick one of the other spinners, though none of them have much experience.

Sealing Spot
Clarke's job has been made tougher by the performance of Moises Henriques who will retain his place purely for his batting. This rules out a chance for slow bowling all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Steven Smith.

In fact, Clarke felt Henriques' bowling can be crucial. "If we don't have a third fast bowler, Moises can certainly do that role," he said.

Hence, if the spin attack has to strengthened, a fast bowler is likely to sit out.

Spin duo
James Pattinson was the stand out bowler in Chennai with his tearaway pace, left-armer Mitchell Starc can take the ball away from the right-handers and the experienced Peter Siddle has established himself as the spearhead.

This puts Clarke in a fix to find the right combination.

Xavier Doherty was seen training in the nets and on the side pitches during the Test. The left-arm spinner's stock delivery takes the ball away from right-handed batsmen and with Nathan Lyon can hope to form a handy combination, considering the success Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar had in India.

Clarke is still weighing his options. "We need to assess conditions once we get to Hyderabad. Australian spin accounted for three wickets in the first innings and fast bowling took a lot more. That doesn't mean we got our combination right.

"We need to look at conditions again and work out what we think is the best XI."

It's tough to be in Clarke's shoes at the moment, although he could well be the best spin option for Australia.


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