Australia picked wrong bowling line-up for first Test against India in Chennai, says Mark Butcher
Last Updated: February 25, 2013 1:42pm
Lyon: the 25-year-old (centre) has been Australia's only frontline spin outlet in Chennai
Mark Butcher says Australia have been punished for poor team selection as they edge closer to defeat in the first Test in India.
The Baggy Greens lead the hosts by 40 at the close of play on day four, but have just one second-innings wicket intact after falling victim to India's spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja.
The home side's twirlers have taken each of Australia's 19 scalps in the contest - with Ashwin sitting on match figures of 12-193 - and Sky Sports pundit Butcher branded the visitors "folly" for picking just one frontline slow bowler of their own in Nathan Lyon.
However, the former England batsman praised the defiance of Antipodean debutant Moises Henriques, who amassed 68 in Australia's first knock and remains unbeaten on 75 in their second in Chennai.
"You never need four seamers in India, no matter how good they are."
"The pitch is tailor made for the home side and you cannot complain about that," said Butcher, who figured in 71 Tests for his country, accruing eight tons and 23 half-centuries.
"India have lost a lot of series of late but want to keep up a pretty proud record of winning series at home and are going to prepare a pitch that turns, in the same way that Australia would prepare a flyer at Perth.
"Australia had the opportunity to pick spin bowlers in their line-up but went with a predominantly pace attack - and that has shown to have been folly; you never need four seamers in India, no matter how good they are.
"Henriques has played beautifully to take the game into a fifth day, though, and if you are taking the positives, as Australia usually do, they will be pleased they haven't lost by an innings and that they have discovered a real find in Henriques.
"You wouldn't believe he was on debut; he looks calm and assured and technically organised, which is all the more impressive considering Australian supporters and journalists were wondering whether he should be in the side at all. He has been superb in both innings."
Butcher's fellow analyst Angus Fraser commended Australia for showing resilience in the midst of a devilish trial by spin, but says that Michael Clarke's charges were always going to struggle without a greater spin-bowling arsenal.
"The ball has turned sharply throughout the game and you felt it was just a matter of time before there was a cascade of wickets and we got that," said Fraser, who snared 177 wickets in his 46 Tests for England.
"Australia, though, hung on in there, showed pride and told India that they might win this battle but there is still a war to be contested and they will play strong, aggressive cricket against them again.
"However, where Australia have let themselves down is with the ball when they had India 196-4 and then MS Dhoni (224 off 265 deliveries) came in and changed the game. They haven't been appalling but they are just limited with what they can do on this surface.
"They probably lost this game in 2006-07 when Shane Warne retired as they just don't have the spin-bowling resources to compete with India."