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Balanced bowling gives India the edge

On the surface, it appears to be a battle between the enormous batting power of India and the genuine pace of Australia's fast bowlers. Ian Chappell writes. Ian says

india Updated: Mar 23, 2011 00:31 IST

On the surface, it appears to be a battle between the enormous batting power of India and the genuine pace of Australia's fast bowlers.

However, now that India has selected a better balanced side they would seem to have a few more options for taking the upper-hand than Australia.

For instance, if India does get away to a fast start courtesy of the Sachin - Sehwag liaison, the Australian spinners haven't shown any indication they could put the anchors on the Indian scoring.

Jason Krezja has only had moderate success so far in the tournament and, with their ability to maul spinners, the Indian batsmen would surely look forward to that confrontation.

In contrast, if Australia does get away to a good start against a thin Indian pace bowling line-up, they do have the spin options to drag their team back into the game.

They did it in Bangalore in the practice match against Australia and even with Michael Hussey now in the team, the line-up is still vulnerable against good spin bowling.

As much as Australia might want to challenge Virender Sehwag with spin right from the outset, I’m not sure Ricky Ponting has the confidence in his slow bowlers to take that gamble. Ponting is happier working with his pace bowlers and he's more likely to attempt to unsettle Sehwag with short-pitched deliveries rather than well-flighted ones.

The addition of Ravi Ashwin has given Mahendra Singh Dhoni not only more variety in attack but also more options. His promotion gives the attack more versatility and allows Dhoni to put his bowlers into favourable match-ups against the Australian line-up.

Australia’s selection choices are fraught with danger. Do they replace Cameron White with David Hussey?
Do they abandon any pretenses of providing a balanced attack and omit Krezja in favour of the medium-fast John Hastings? Or do they use Hastings in place of the fast but erratic Shaun Tait?

These are not the choices you want to be facing on the eve of a knockout game, especially when Hastings hasn’t bowled a ball in anger in the tournament proper.

So in essence it is a battle between pace and powerful batting and this in itself could be a spectacle worth seeing. Nevertheless, on balance India seem to hold more aces than Australia, all because they've finally selected a well-balanced bowling attack.