Wednesday, February 22, 2017

IND v AUS: R Ashwin has a stalker... and its none other than Nathan Lyon

Aussies’ spin spearhead Nathan Lyon

Pune: Bowling to Indian batsmen in their home conditions is always a challenge for any side. And it will be no different when off-spinner Nathan Lyon leads the Australian spin brigade as they go after Virat Kohli & Co in the first of the four-Test series that begins at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium here tomorrow.

Lyon, who had an expensive economy rate of 4.40 during Australia’s previous tour of India in 2012-13 season, says he now knows how to bowl against Indian batsmen, at least theoretically.

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“If you are going to come out and try to take a wicket off every ball, you’re going to get hit for boundaries. For us, coming over and competing here, is about building pressure, either with quickies or spinners at the other end. Try to give minimum runs and make the Indians play the big shots. That’s where we are going to build pressure,” Lyon said after the Australian team’s three-hour practice session here yesterday.

Ravichandran Ashwin

More importantly, Lyon revealed that he’s been learning a lot by watching how India’s leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowls on home tracks. “I have been watching a lot of footage of Ashwin, the way he goes about it, his different release points.

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He is a world-class spinner, the best at the moment in the world, there is a reason for it. So, I’ve been studying him a lot, hopefully I can put that in play,” added Lyon, who has 228 Test scalps to his name from 63 matches at an average of 34.07. His economy rate is 3.19. The 29-year-old New South Wales player however, refused to reveal details of his changed approach. “I’m not going to tell you what I have been working on. I’ve definitely changed my approach this time to suit subcontinent conditions as compared to four years ago. We have to wait and see how it comes out, I guess,” he added.

Cross wind at Pune stadium will ensure swing, say experts

Pune: When the four-Test series between India and Australia begins at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here tomorrow, there will definitely be some help for the pacers — India’s Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Australia’s Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

And that’s not just because of the pitch which would have “good pace and carry” according to the curator Pandurang Salgaonkar. “The stadium has been constructed in such a way that there is cross wind from square-leg boundary to the point boundary. So if the bowler is able to bowl seam-up deliveries, they will definitely get swing,” explained former Maharashtra Ranji skipper Surendra Bhave. “Bowlers should be able to reverse the ball as well, if they are skilful,” he added. Bhave was actively involved as a managing committee member of the MCA during the planning of the stadium. “It has been ensured that there is no big construction behind the square-leg or point boundary line, so that the cross wind flows throughout the day,” Bhave informed. The other factor that would help the pace bowlers is the use of SG ball, which swings a bit more than the Kookaburra. The Indian pacers have picked up wickets at crucial times throughout the home season, and it won’t be a surprise if they continue to do so.

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