x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Australia lack spinners of quality to turn it around on Indian pitches

Before the series, Michael Clarke spoke of how pace bowling was his side's strength. Despite underwhelming performances from Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc, that has not changed.

Nathan Lyon mah have done well in Australia's domestic league, but in India he has been average. Morne de Klerk / Getty Images
Nathan Lyon mah have done well in Australia's domestic league, but in India he has been average. Morne de Klerk / Getty Images

The greatest Australian teams have struggled to win in India. When they toured under Steve Waugh's captaincy in 2001, having won 15 Tests on the trot, they lost 2-1.

In 2004, when they managed to shut down India's prolific batting line-up, they triumphed 2-1. Yet, even that series might have finished all square but for rain in Chennai that thwarted an India chase of 229.

After India's comprehensive win in Chennai, there has been much scrutiny of Australia's team make up.

They went in with one specialist spinner, Nathan Lyon, on a surface so conducive to slow bowling that India's spin trio took all 20 wickets to fall. Lyon's four wickets cost 244 runs.

Before the series, Michael Clarke spoke of how pace bowling was his side's strength. Despite underwhelming performances from Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc, that has not changed.

Much has been made of how England's spinners trumped India's in the recent series. But Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have real pedigree.

You look at Australia's options, and you can see why Clarke backs his fast men. Xavier Doherty's two Test wickets in the 2010/11 Ashes series cost 102 runs apiece. Steve Smith has 46 first-class wickets, each costing 56. Glenn Maxwell's 15 first-class outings have produced 27 wickets.

Even the best spinners suffered in India. Shane Warne averaged 43, and Muttiah Muralitharan 45.

James Pattison showed the way in Chennai, with quick and hostile spells in enervating heat. Australia need more of that to repeat the success of 2004.

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