Australia would want to see Sehwag on the bench

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 28, 2012 05:01 hrs

Unless he has a late instinct to do otherwise Dhoni will almost certainly go in with five bowlers against Australia and that seems the most logical way of going about it. I suspect the recent behaviour of the Premadasa pitch might tempt him, the affair with bounce and carry on the track might have been no more than a mere flirtation, and in any case he has been happiest manipulating slower bowlers.

I wonder though if India will rush in with three spinners and a few others, who can answer to that call sometimes or whether the third seamer might just be considered. There is a case for that, with Yuvraj looking like he can contribute, but I'm fairly certain (as certain as anyone can be, for Dhoni holds his cards close to his chest) three spinners will be the preferred option.

It means one batsman has to miss out and the choice of bowlers might well determine who that is. If three seamers play, then Yuvraj must, but if only two are needed and there are enough slow bowling options, Dhoni can cast the net wider. I suspect it will all come down to the confidence with Virender Sehwag at the top of the order. A side that bats deep (Pathan, Ashwin, Harbhajan and Chawla at 7, 8, 9 and 10) can afford a Sehwag playing his usual way, but it is also true that in recent times he hasn't always delivered.

But sometimes you need to look at what the opposition least wants to see and Australia would much rather Sehwag was on the bench than walking out first.

It would also help India that both matches at the Premadasa will be played on the same strip and India play the second game which means the pitch would already have taken about forty overs of cricket on it. A ball that grips and turns a bit is the best way to counter Warner and Watson.

Australia tend to use their second spinner, Glenn Maxwell, as their sixth bowler rather than as one of the top five and so they would prefer the kind of surfaces the Premadasa had shown in the first week. They have had three days to work on the pitches for the rest of the tournament and so the first game of the afternoon between Pakistan and South Africa will be a good one to watch to get an idea of what is to follow!

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