Australian pacers face trial by fire in India Test
Australia expect their bowlers to put in a sharp and disciplined performance in a bid to keep pressure on India's strong batting line-up in the opening Test starting on Friday.cricket Updated: Sep 29, 2010 13:03 IST
Australia expect their bowlers to put in a sharp and disciplined performance in a bid to keep pressure on India's strong batting line-up in the opening Test starting on Friday.
They failed to find match-winning bowlers on their last tour of India in 2008 when they lost a four-Test series 2-0, with six batsmen aggregating more than 300 runs for the home team.
In contrast, only two Australians -- Michael Hussey and Simon Katich -- could manage more than 300 in the series on slow Indian pitches.
Australia have lost much of their bowling strength after the retirements of fast bowler Glenn McGrath and leg-spin wizard Shane Warne, who were capable of delivering in all conditions.
Their attack wears a different look this time, with pacemen Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson being the only bowlers to have figured in the last Test series in India.
The other bowlers, including paceman Doug Bollinger and spinner Nathan Hauritz, face a big challenge to keep pressure on the Indian batsmen who have often flourished in home conditions.
India have exciting batsmen in Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who can dominate any attack with their stroke-play.
"There are two key issues for Australia which I believe will be pivotal to their success," former Australian player Tom Moody recently wrote in his column in the Times of India.
"The first being the Aussies haven't had much cricket as a unit and have also had a disrupted winter which means they will need to get into their stride very quickly in what is normally challenging conditions.
"Getting acclimatised as quickly as possible will be the key. The second key factor will be making sure the likes of Johnson and company get enough bowling rhythm in before the first Test and don't use the first innings or first Test as their warm-up."
Australia captain Ricky Ponting conceded ahead of the tour that he did not expect miracles from his fourth-ranked team against number one India.
"I don't expect miracles, but expect a very high level of performance over the next few weeks," Ponting said before the team's departure for India for two Tests and three one-day internationals.
"It's an important tour for all of us."
Australia, who recently drew a two-Test series with Pakistan in England, will also need to give a solid batting display against a full-strength Indian bowling attack.
The hosts' attack has been strengthened with the return of left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan, who missed a three-Test series in Sri Lanka in July-August due to an injury.
Ponting will be keen to improve upon his average of just 20.85 in India, where he scored just one century in 12 Tests and was troubled by off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Harbhajan, who has so far taken 79 wickets in 14 Tests against Australia, is troubled by a sprain but is expected to be fit for Friday's match.
"For me, the decisive point in the first Test will be the bowling attack that clicks as a unit the quickest, this will hand them the advantage because batting on both sides is of a high standard," wrote Moody.
The second and final Test starts in Bangalore on October 9.
First Published: Sep 29, 2010 12:58 IST