Australian head coach Justin Langer believes the hosts need to reassess their plans of countering the threat of the Indian spinners ahead of the third Test. Ravichandran Ashwin, in particular, has been on top of the Australian batsmen in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The 34-year-old is the highest wicket-taker in the Test series so far with 10 scalps to his name. He has been able to get into the head of star batsman Steve Smith, who has only scored 10 runs from four innings in the series.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja also made a half-century and provided crucial breakthroughs in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). His all-round efforts in the second Test have all but cemented his place in the visitors' playing XI.
In a video conference ahead of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Justin Langer explained how important it is for the Aussies to tackle both these Indian spinners, as the SCG pitch has traditionally offered more assistance to spin.
"I think we have got to look at our strategies against the Indian spinners. Ashwin is bowling in very well and we have worked hard on that last week or so," Justin Langer said.
Mohammed Siraj bowled very well in his first Test match: Justin Langer
Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the Indian bowlers in the Boxing Day Test and led the bowling attack brilliantly in the absence of senior pacers like Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. However, Justin Langer was highly impressed with debutant Mohammed Siraj's performance at the MCG.
Picking up five wickets in the game, Siraj gave his team important breakthroughs exactly when the visitors needed them the most. He made sure Team India didn't feel the absence of two of their frontline pacers.
The injury woes for the visitors have increased as fast bowler Umesh Yadav, who pulled his calf muscle in Australia's second innings at MCG, has been ruled out of the remainder of the series. Justin Langer is looking forward to seeing who will be Team India's third pacer in the SCG Test.
"Obviously, Bumrah is a world-class bowler and (Mohammed) Siraj coming in, he is a very skillful bowler...I thought he (Siraj) bowled very well in his first Test match, his debut, so we are interested to see who comes in as their probably third quick," Justin Langer asserted.
While Team India will be bolstered by the addition of Rohit Sharma at the top of the order, the hosts will be sweating on the fitness of David Warner as they are desparate to get the 34-year-old fit in time for the third Test.
One among Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini and T Natarajan will surely make their Test debut at the SCG. Who will it be? Will it be Thakur, who is a like-for-like replacement for Yadav as he has a natural out-swinger?
Will it be Saini, who has impressed one and all with his pace and accuracy in the white-ball formats? Or will it be the left-arm pacer Natarajan, whose start to international cricket has been nothing short of a fairytale? Only time will give us the answer.Published 05 Jan 2021, 13:53 IST