Follow-on against India A not a worry, hints Mickey Arthur

Despite their struggles against spin in the second warm-up game against India 'A' in Chennai, Australia coach Mickey Arthur is not willing to read too much into the practice ties.

Updated: February 19, 2013 15:41 IST
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In the second warm-up game versus India 'A', Australia were rather rattled by the spin duo of Rakesh Dhruv and Jalaj Saxena. The Aussies were forced to follow-on, as Dhruv and Saxena bagged eleven out of the twelve wickets to fall in the match. Yet the visitors have been rather naive and stubborn in their adamant refusal to accept their weakness towards spin bowling.

Australia coach Mickey Arthur has joined the bandwagon in praising his side despite rather under-par performances in the two warm-up matches.

"You know, I thought we learnt a massive amount from the game against India 'A'. It was a good thing that we got two hits in the game," said Arthur, rather boldly in Chennai on Tuesday.

There has been a lot of speculation in the Australian media with regards to the possible line-up that will take the field for the first Test on February 22. "We have a large unit at our disposal here, and I'm pretty confident of picking an XI that will play to our strengths," said Arthur, giving no hints about the team combination.

"Look, we have to pick bowlers we think that can pick 20 wickets, and we have to fit our best batters into crucial positions as well. Depending upon injuries, we should know our team pretty soon," he added.

Australia have had their share of injury concerns with skipper Michael Clarke and opener David Warner, neither of whom played the two warm-up games. "Davy's (Warner) thumb is improving well. I'm pretty confident that he will feature in the first Test," said Arthur, though not without a little concern.

"No problems with Clarke though. As I have always said, you will need to cut his leg for him not to feature in the Test," Arthur added with a grin.

Australian pacer Peter Siddle stressed the importance of their potent pace attack, despite relatively spin-friendly conditions in India.

"We have a good mix of spinners and seamers. The conditions in Chennai are conducive to spin and reverse-swing as well. We have the artillery to counter both as it is a horse-for-courses decision," said Arthur, without revealing his final bowling attack.

The Aussies face the daunting task of facing up to the Indian spin troika of R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh.

"We have planned to play against spin methodically. Our batters have developed a method to score and not get out to spinners. We are not under any illusions but I'm sure we will be able to counter the spin trio of India," said Arthur.

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