New Delhi: Australian opening batsman David Warner feels that with India under pressure with recent reverses, his side has the resources to beat Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s army in the upcoming four-match Test series starting later this week beginning in Chennai on February 22.
Warner, who still remains doubtful for the first Test, said that a series win in India would be a massive achievement for Australia but conceded that the outcome would largely depend on how his side play against the home side spinners.
“Definitely, we have the resources to beat India. Dhoni is under pressure after recent results and we have the upperhand in pace bowling and our batsmen are among runs,” Warner said.
“It will be a massive thing if we beat India, leading to the Ashes series (after the India tour). But basically it would be decided by the challenge we are going to face against Indian spinners,” he said.
Like his team-mates Shane Watson and Ed Cowan had said, Warner felt the Australians should show the intent to be aggressive against the Indian spinners.
His comments, however, came on the day when his team mates woes against spinners were exposed once again as India A’s unfancied duo of left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruv and off-spinner Jalaj Saxena excelled with an impressive display, forcing the visitors to follow on before the warm-up match ended in a draw here on Monday.
Gujarat’s Dhruv grabbed 5-51 while Madhya Pradesh all-rounder Saxena took four for 61 to dismiss Australia for 235 in their first innings in reply to India A’s total of 451.
With 216-run deficit, India A skipper Gautam Gambhir enforced the follow-on and Australia did a shade better in their second essay by finishing on 195 for three.
“I have the experience of playing against some of the Indian spinners in India. I was able to play sweep shot and cut. You can’t think of just blocking them. You have be show aggressive intent,” he said.
If Parveez Rasool sowed the seeds of doubts in the Aussie minds about their inability to tackle spinners, Dhruv and Saxena’s performance will certainly compound their worries and at the same time encourage Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha to go all out against Michael Clarke’s men in the first Test.
The Aussies started the day at 131 for four and the overnight batsmen Matthew Wade (44) and Moises Henriques (33) took the score to 176 with a 49-run fifth wicket stand.
Both were trying to hit their way out of trouble – especially Henriques, who hit two fours and three sixes in his 41-ball knock before he padded an arm ball from the left-arm spinner Dhruv, which started the slide.
Meanwhile, the retirement of some batting greats and the recent failure to dominate England with spinners on home soil make India a “vulnerable” side in the upcoming Test against Australia, former cricketer Jeff Lawson commented.
The former Australian fast bowler said India’s defeat against England despite playing on favourable dust-bowls was a big positive for the visiting Australian side.
“The forthcoming Indo-Aussie Test series presents major challenges for both teams. India have recently lost 2-1 to England on home soil after winning the opening Test. Two conclusions come from that result: that England are tough, confident and classy, and that India are on the wane and are vulnerable,” Lawson said.
Lawson said in the absence of Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, combined with ageing stars such as Zaheer Khan, the best India could do was to prepare turning tracks but even this ploy failed against England.
“…They have an ageing and declining team, and the loss of experienced personnel – and form – by those still getting selected adds up to a fall or at least a stumble in the rankings.
“Spin has been seen as the short-term and interminable response from selectors and grounds staff. When in doubt, revert to type. But India have been beaten at their own dusty game and that result gives Australia significant hope,” Lawson wrote in his newspaper column.
Lawson said India’s fate in the series would hinge on how Virat Kohli fare.
“Virat Kohli was feisty and successful last summer in Australia and is quickly assuming the mantle of the keystone batsmen.
“He is young and aggressive – just the style India need to maintain a home mental edge that Tendulkar championed for so long.
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