Buchanan says Aussie pacers hold key

Sydney, Feb 19 (IANS) Cricket coach John Buchanan feels Australia's pace attack and not spinners will be the key to their success in India.

Buchanan, who coached Australia to a historic win on the 2004 tour of India, says the outcome of the four-match Test series beginning in Chennai Friday will depend a lot on how the speedsters bowl with the old ball besides stifling the Indian batsmen.

Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird form Australia's potent pace department.

"I do think it's a good pace attack; it depends how it adapts to the conditions it's about to face," Buchanan, now New Zealand's director of cricket, told the Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday.

Comparing the present conditions from the 2004 tour in November, Buchanan said: "They're going into India now in February/March. That makes a difference as well because some of the wickets still provide a little bit of bounce and pace at the start of the summer, whereas potentially by this time of their season wickets have been subjected to plenty of heat and plenty of wear and possibly the ability for pace bowlers to extract good pace and bounce are limited.

"It really means that the pace bowlers have really got to look at their strategies with an old bowl and what they can do with that."

The 59-year-old Australian also emphasised on not fielding a spin loaded line-up.

"You don't take spinners just for the sake of taking a spinner. Indians are so used to playing spin bowling, there is no guarantee they are going to make an impact in a series," he said.

Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty are the frontline spinners in the squad.

Asked what worked from them in 2004, Buchannan said: "Basically, we designed a three-step strategy. One was how we were going to attack each batsman - that was always Plan A. Plan B was how do we reduce the boundaries, how do we stop them scoring? And Plan C, which we never really wanted to get to, was when they're actually taking us apart.

"The key was just sticking with it. Adam Gilchrist was captain that tour and he certainly made sure that all bowlers just stuck to a plan, whether it was Plan A, or Plan B. Very rarely did we get to Plan C because it seemed like we were able to make impact, or gradually contain them and then make impact.

"With the fast bowlers, if we could do that, it meant Warnie (Shane Warne) could basically bowl when and how we wanted him to."

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