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Clarke expects his top-order to deliver

V.V. Subrahmanyam
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CRICKET / The Aussie captain will assess the conditions before deciding on extra spinner

DIFFERENT ROLE:Mitchell Johnson may be a contender for a slot in the Australian pace pack, but is not averse to giving batting tips to some local youngsters.— Photo: K.R. Deepak
DIFFERENT ROLE:Mitchell Johnson may be a contender for a slot in the Australian pace pack, but is not averse to giving batting tips to some local youngsters.— Photo: K.R. Deepak

“The top-order needs to show greater discipline and confidence and we need to bat and bowl in cohesion to win Test matches,” said Australian captain Michael Clarke on the eve of the second Test against India here on Friday.

For the record, India is leading 1-0 in the four-match Test series.

“The challenges of facing different kinds of pitches are there everywhere for every team in international cricket. You have to make sure you can come up with the right performances. That is what the best players in world cricket have been doing,” Clarke said.

“We have to assess the conditions and look at the option of playing an extra spinner,” Clarke explained. “But I have no regrets about not playing a second spinner in the first Test. It was the fast bowlers who took more wickets,” he added.

The Aussie captain said he would be surprised if India doesn’t field three spinners here.

“In fact, I think they might even play left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha for Harbhajan or for one of the fast bowlers,” he remarked.

Clarke, rated as the best player of spin in his side, feels that to be successful against spinners you need to have a plan and the courage to stick to that. “The young players are working hard and will rise to the occasion very soon,” he explained.

Referring to the emergence of Moises Henriques, who scored half-centuries on debut in Chennai, Clarke recalled that the New South Wales cricketer has had a terrific season back home. “But he will be tested again here. The Indians may have done some research to find out his strengths and weaknesses,” he said with a smile.

Need to be positive

India off-spinner R. Ashwin said, “It is a different occasion now. What happened is past. We need to continue to be positive.”

On the competition for the spinners’ slots in the Indian team, Ashwin felt that competition was always there. “I don't think about it. It is up to people like you to draw comparisons and judge who is better,” he said. “I don’t think it is good to even draw lines between Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann and Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty,” he said. When reminded that India won the first Test against England and then lost the series at home recently, Ashwin said the team is not thinking about that.

“We had a good start in the first Test match against the Aussies. We want to take the positives from that victory into the remaining Tests,” he added. Ashwin refused to entertain any debate on spin combinations and he revealed that they normally discuss these matters only the evening before the Test match.

On the impact of his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's double century on the team, Ashwin said that Dhoni himself had pointed out that he is not sure whether he would be able to replicate the effort or not. “But honestly, I have not seen such a knock. It can be demoralising to any side in the world,” Ashwin said.

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