Aussies need to dig deep in Hyderabad
The Australians struggled in the first Test in all departments, only captain Michael Clarke, debutant Moises Henriques and pacer James Pattinson putting up a semblance of a fight. Now, with the Hyderabad pitch once again likely to favour spinners, they will have to dig deep to square the series.
A relatively new ground, another 'familiar' wicket and a trio of not-so-affable Indian spinners await Australia in the second Test, starting Saturday.
The visitors, after having suffered a comprehensive defeat in the opener at the MA Chidambaram stadium, would have had a fair idea -- if they hadn't already -- of what to expect in the remaining matches.
The Rajiv Gandhi International stadium has thus far played host to only two Test matches and this will be the first to have a team other than New Zealand facing the hosts.
When this correspondent visited the venue the groundsmen were busy cutting that last shred of grass left on the wicket.
On Saturday, when the match begins, the wicket at Uppal will, in all likelihood, resemble the one at Chepauk. To be fair, it is the best means to guarantee an Indian win!
Image: Michael Clarke
India might not change the team combination
On such a wicket, the toss needn't essentially play a key role, as is the case in most matches in India.
Coming to the teams, changing a winning combination may not be the right thing, but the Indian think-tank may be tempted to do so, largely because of the form (rather lack of it) of a couple of players.
While Murali Vijay endured twin failures in Chennai, his home turf, Harbhajan Singh failed to impress in either essay in what was his 100th Test. The medium-pacers did precious little, Bhuvneshwar Kumar though doing his bit with the bat.
Of the above, Dhoni has backed only Vijay. Harbhajan's indifferent form apart, the fact that Uppal is Pragyan Ojha's home ground might just prompt the management to decide in his favour.
Image: Harbhajan Singh and a local bowler at the nets session in Hyderabad on Thursday
Australia were found wanting in every department
Australia, on the other hand, has plenty to ponder. They have issues in almost every department.
While none of the batsmen, save Michael Clarke and Moises Henriques, made an impact, the bowlers fared even worse. Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle failed to justify their reputations and Nathan Lyon was an apology of a spinner.Only James Pattinson made a mark, bowling at a consistent pace and picking half of the 12 wickets the team from Down Under could in the match.
Image: David Warner walks off the field after his dismissal in the first Test
Spinners Maxwell or Doherty could get a look in
Keeping the wicket in the mind, the Australian think-tank will definitely be tempted to play an additional spinner, meaning either Xavier Doherty or Glenn Maxwell will join Lyon, the latter's case is bolstered by the fact that he can bat.
In that case, either Siddle or Starc will sit out.
As regards their batting, the visitors might just give Usman Khwaja a look ahead of a misfiring Phillip Hughes.
Considering their lack of depth in the spin department, Australia will need their batsmen to make up for that.
If the visitors are to draw level, and make it a contest in this series, they have to dig deep.
Image: Glenn Maxwell