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Pattinson can spring a surprise

india Updated: Mar 02, 2013 01:15 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times
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After how England managed to beat India at their own game - spin - it's natural for other teams to follow suit. Australia are not harbouring any such ambitions, though. They reckon they simply don't have the ammunition to try the game plan. Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty, their best spinners, are not in the same league as Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, the two who wreaked havoc on India last year.

It also means Australia will be banking on their pace artillery in their effort to make a comeback. Their attack will revolve around James Pattinson. They believe the express pace of the 22-year-old Victorian, high on confidence after his five-wicket haul, can make an impact even on the typical subcontinent wickets.

The wicket in Chennai was tailor-made for Indian spinners, still Pattinson surprised everyone with the speed he generated. He had set the game up for Australia with early inroads. And, but for skipper Dhoni's counterattacking innings, the match could have been more evenly contested.

The brown, barren look of the Hyderabad wicket would have a demoralising effect on any pace bowler, but expert judgement could see the Australian pace battery being more effective in Hyderabad than Chennai. "It's a good wicket, you will be surprised by the bounce," said Shivlal Yadav, the former India off-spinner.

Critically for India, facing the new ball remains the team's weakest link. Pattinson has the psychological edge over the openers. He got Murali Vijay in both the innings and claimed the wicket of Virender Sehwag in the first.

Pace is the ace
"Our fast bowlers took more wickets than our spin bowlers (at Chennai). I think credit needs to go to our fast bowling unit, especially Pattinson. To be able to get as many wickets as he did in those conditions is a real compliment to him," skipper Clarke said.

The visitors are likely to play an extra spinner, but it doesn't mean there will be a big shift in bowling strategy. "We're not the England team. We're a very different team but our goal is to win every Test we play. We lost the first Test, so we have a chance here to win three out of three Tests and that's our goal.

"To me, it's about being focused on this Test."