Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believes his team is equipped to handle Indian spinners, who are expected to pose a big threat to the tourists in the four-test series that begins Thursday.
Australia drew its only warm-up match Sunday against the Board President’s XI where the touring team’s vulnerability to spin was exposed by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
Nine wickets in Australia’s first innings of the warmup game fell to the spinners but Ponting is unfazed going into the opening test.
“When they are bowling 75 percent of their overs with spin, the chances are that you are going to lose wickets to them at some stage,” said Ponting, ahead of Monday’s departure to Bangalore, venue for the series opener.
“That’s the way the Indians play their cricket, the spinners do bowl a lot of overs. I don’t think it was disappointing for us,” he said.
“When we get to Bangalore we will fine-tune our preparations.” Michael Hussey was the only Australian batsman who made good use of the warmup game, scoring 126 and featuring in a 96-run partnership for the last wicket with Stuart Clark that saved the visitors from an embarrassing follow-on.
“I think the two spinners who played here are definitely good enough to play test cricket and would be successful at that level,” said Hussey. “They bowled well in tandem and they put a lot of pressure on the batsmen.” Chawla and Ojha do not feature in India’s test squad, where the spin attack will be led by skipper Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
“It was very important, very good to get some time out in the middle,” Hussey said.
Hussey said the Australian batsmen just need “a bit more time and they’ll be fine.” “Coming into a Test match, our intensity levels will rise another cog and we will be definitely up for the battle,” Hussey said.
Hussey felt skipper Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin batted quite well against the prodigious spinners.
“I thought Ricky looked really good, he was beaten by a pretty good ball from Chawla” in the first innings, said Hussey.
“Matthew Hayden is a class player and has been successful in Indian conditions, while Michael Clarke is our best player of spin bowling,” he said.
Returning from injury, Ponting was pleased with his form after hitting an unbeaten 58 in the second innings.
“The time I spent in the middle in this game will hold me in good stead,” said Ponting. “I’m back from an injury, which always makes it a little hard to get going.”