What’s the story?
Former Austalian spinner Jason Krezja reckons that the impact of spin duo Nathan Lyon and Steve O’ Keefe will be diluted for the rest of the series. In Pune, the duo combined to take 17 of the 20 Indian wickets and derailed the hosts in three days of Test cricket.
Krezja believes that the second Test in Bangalore, set to get underway on the 4th of March, will see a much more sporting wicket.
Speaking to the Times of India, he said, “Going forward, I do see wickets taking turn, but it's not going to be as bad as it was in Pune. I think the spinners are going to be the key but on wickets such as the one in Bengaluru, the pacers will have a say as well. They both will have to set strong fields, bowl tight lines and be patient. There could be periods of play where our spinners would have to be a bit more defensive too. I don't think they would get as much spin in the first 2-3 days (in the upcoming games)”.
The pitch in Pune was a shocker that turned square on day one. While one would normally expect such conditions to favour the hosts, the visitors used it to their advantage to seal a famous win.
The Aussie spin duo of Lyon and O’Keefe outperformed India’s Ashwin and Jadeja. The Test in Pune, which saw a pitch that completely favoured spin, has been a one-off in India’s long home season, where the pitches have generally been more neutral.
Praise has been heaped on the Indians in the last couple of months for producing fair wickets that give both teams an equal chance at a win. India will have to come back strong in the second Test and will be hoping that they can play a similar brand of cricket as they have in the last few months to get the win.
Krezja also added that the impact of Monty Panesar, who has been roped in as a spin consultant by the Australian board can’t be discounted.
Parallels from history
The South African tour of India towards the end of 2015 proved to be pretty embarrassing for the hosts. While they ran away as comfortable winners in the series, the nature of the pitches, that turned square from day one was subject to a lot of criticism. Since then, barring the Test in Pune, we have witnessed good pitches for cricket.
Jason Krezja has hit the nail on the head with the comments about the Australian spinners. It is important for them to not get carried away and expect similar results in the Tests to come. It will be a game of patience and with the Indian batsmen expected to play more cautiously, they will definitely find it harder.