It will be a battle between Australia’s pacers — James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle — and India’s spinners — Pragyan Ojha, R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh.
While the Indians will bank on the spinners to weave magic on the vulnerable Australian batsmen — the visitors’ performance against the spinners was a clear indication of the tough times that await them in the Test series — the Australians will bank on reverse swing to send the Indian batsmen packing.
Australia’s decision to pick just one spinner in Nathan Lyon makes clear that the team management doesn’t expect an England-like performance from its spinners.
So the emphasis will be on getting the ball to roughen- up and bring reverse swing into the game as early as possible. The SG ball known to have a pronounced seam — and the pace of the Australian fast bowlers will only help their cause. The dust bowl that Chennai usually offers will also help the visitors as the ball will lose its shine sooner rather than later.
I ndia will definitely miss Zaheer Khan — master at reversing the old ball. But with the pitch expected to turn from as early as the second day, it shouldn’t be long before the spinners make up for his absence.
Meanwhile, 19 days after turning 26, the Portugal- born Moises Constantino Henriques got a just reward for performing consistently well, and crucially extending his form to the two warm- up games, as the Aussie fast bowler was named in the XI for the first Test beginning here on Friday.
By picking Henriques, Australia gave ample indication of their strategy.
bought Bangalore players’ four game President’s game 33 off Australia recently their strategy. Henriques, who was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $ 300,000 at the IPL players’ auction recently, bagged four wickets for 12 in the two- day game against the Board President’s XI and then in the second game against India ‘ A’ he scored off 41 balls.
Australia know that England recently decimated India with their twin spin attack of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, but they still are backing their pacers to dismantle the not- sostrong batting line- up of the home team that is now without the retired Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
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India would be psychologically not so upbeat going into the series, chiefly because they lost all four Tests of the series in Australia in 2011- 12.
There will naturally be pressure on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Indian team to avenge that humiliating defeat.
The Indians will also be wiser after having lost 1- 2 the four- Test home series against England last year, when that contest was also billed as the ‘ revenge series’. After losing the first Test in Ahmedabad, England roared back to win the next two matches and draw the last one to emerge surprise victors.
On Wednesday, former captain Sunil Gavaskar in a way reminded the Indian team that it needs to win this one.