India look to dominate Australia
Hyderabad - Riding high on confidence after winning in Chennai, India will be looking for another impressive performance when they take on Australia in the second Test starting at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Saturday.
India could have won the first Test in four days but a gritty last-wicket stand between Moises Henriques and Nathan Lyon took the match into the fifth day. India, however, didn’t have to wait long, wrapping up the match quickly on the last day.
It was the third time in Indian cricketing history that spinners bagged 20 wickets a match. With the kind of a grass-less pitch chosen here, the script looks to continue for the hosts.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not expected to make many changes but off-spinner Harbhajan Singh’s spot remains a doubt. The Chennai match was Harbhajan’s 100th Test but the feisty off-spinner was far from his best. He struggled and managed only three wickets as Dhoni preferred bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha could replace the Punjab cricketer, taking into account his performance against England where he picked 20 wickets from four Tests. Ojha had also clinched 13 from the two Tests against New Zealand in August.
Accommodating the spinners in the eleven will be a tricky task for the team management. Dhoni could also opt for a four-man spin attack, with Ravichandran Ashwin, given the fact that the two pacers, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, hardly made an impact on the Australia batsmen.
Dhoni is unlikely to ring in changes despite among batsmen despite both openers, Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay, failing to make an impact.
Australian captain Michael Clarke will hope that tips from spin legend Shane Warne will help his frontline spinner Nathan Lyon to bounce back. Lyon bagged key wickets of Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Virender Sehwag, but conceded 215 runs in the first innings alone.
“Lyon had a really good chat to Warney and we spent a bit of time together. If you can’t learn from guys who have been here before and experienced it you will never learn. Nathan’s working hard every day to try and get better. On grounds in India it’s very easy to go for a lot more runs because they’re smaller and have fast outfields,” Clarke said.
Clarke said the Hyderabad wicket cannot be tougher than the one they encountered in Chennai.
“I don’t think this wicket will be any tougher than Chennai. That was a really tough wicket. (But) the wicket will certainly deteriorate as the Test goes on, so it’s a positive for our fast bowlers that there will be a little bit up and down. But spin from day one will play a huge part,” added Clarke, who will retain the same bowling attack.
Australia (likely): Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (captain), Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Moises Henriques, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon.
India (likely): Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.