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India erred in not picking specialist spinner for Perth Test, feel former Australia cricketers

The Indian team went in with an all-pace attack for the 2nd Test.

Hanuma Vihari
Indian team. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It is only the third time that India opted for an all-pace attack in a Test match and there were reactions coming in over the move, terming it an error. With Ravichandran Ashwin sitting out with an abdominal injury, Umesh Yadav completed India’s pace quartet in the second Test that started at the new Perth Stadium on Friday. Australia won the toss and elected to bat and survived the Indian pace bowlers to end the day at 277 for 6 with three of their batsmen scoring half centuries.

The Australian openers gave a solid start to their team by putting up 112 runs for the first wicket and after a mini-collapse, Shaun Marsh (45) and Travis Head (58) repaired the innings by putting up 84 runs for the fifth wicket. The Indian fast bowlers took four wickets with Ishant Sharma claiming two and Jasprit Bumrah and Yadav one each. The fourth bowler Mohammed Shami went without a reward on Day 1 despite bowling 19 overs. Hanuma Vihari, who is a special batsman with the ability of an off-spinner, took two big wickets – Marcus Harris (70) and Marsh.

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Clarke felt Jadeja would have made the cut

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke feels going by the first day’s play in Perth, Virat Kohli erred in team selection by not picking a specialist spinner in the side. Ravindra Jadeja, the left-arm spinner, was included in India’s 13-man squad on the eve of the Test but did not make the final cut. Vihari’s performance of 2 wickets made Clarke wonder all the more over the reason of India not opting for a specialist spinner.

“Watching him [Vihari] take wickets, I have no doubt that India missed a trick by not playing a spinner. I think Ravindra Jadeja would have taken wickets, and seeing the wicket I think Nathan Lyon is going to have a big role,” Clarke said in a show after the end of the day’s play on Sony.

Another former Australian cricketer Michael Hussey agreed with Clarke. “Having someone like Ashwin would have been nice … I know they had Jadeja for this Test [as an option] … to keep it tight and rotate the fast bowlers. I think Lyon will have a big role to play,” he was quoted as saying.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who took eight wickets for Australia in Adelaide including a six-for in the second innings, recently claimed seven wickets at the Test venue in a Sheffield Shield match. Four of them came in the second innings and with India set to bat in the fourth innings in the ongoing Test, Lyon will be more than eager.

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