Australia could make mass changes to its line-up for the second Test against India as legendary former captain Allan Border even floated the idea of dropping new spin hero Todd Murphy.
The tourists were humiliated in the first Test in Nagpur by an innings and 132 runs, and will be desperate to level the four-match series when the second Test begins in Dehli on Friday.
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Australia’s batting capitulated in the first Test and Travis Head is surely all but certain to replace Matthew Renshaw at No. 5 after being surprisingly dumped for the series opener.
Cameron Green is racing the clock to prove his full fitness and recover from a broken finger, with the Aussies seemingly reluctant to pick the all-rounder if he’s unable to bowl.
He could take the spot of Peter Handscomb, although the Victorian was one of the few Australians who held their own with the bat in Nagpur.
Australian captain Pat Cummins said Green was crucial to the balance of the team.
“Having a right hander helps and him providing our fifth bowling option also helps, he’s a big player, it certainly helps the team function well from batting and bowling,” Cummins said.
“You have got to be able to perform as well, he’s still coming back from that injury, he’s only had a couple of sessions where he’s catching with a hard ball. He had a really good session yesterday. We will see how he pulls up.”
As for the bowling, Border has called for Australia to pick a fast bowler-dominant attack in the mould of the squad that led Australia to a drought breaking series win in 2004.
Mitchell Starc is set to replace Scott Boland, while Josh Hazlewood is recovering from an Achilles complaint and could also be in the frame for selection.
Border believes Australia should worry less about the spinning pitches and play to its strengths, even if it means dropping Murphy after his stunning debut.
“We tend to sort of look at that ‘the pitches are going to turn, let’s go with a couple of spinners’,” Border said on SEN.
“I think we should go the other way, go with our strengths — go with the fast bowlers and bowl to certain plans to their batsmen. Subtle change in tactics, go with the three quickies and the one spinner. That formula has worked well for us generally.
“When we’ve done well in India in the past, McGrath and Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie, fast bowlers have done a really good job for us. And on the back of that our batsmen have done a good job making a decent sort of score. You can’t win games like we did in the first Test match.
“Well done to young (Todd) Murphy, it’s going to be a tough decision to leave him out, I know the wicket is going to turn but I just reckon the formula for us to be successful (is) three quickies and one spinner.
“Really work hard on your field positions … Just bowl stump to stump and be relentless with that sort of tactic, I think that is going to be better for us than trying to beat them with spin, we’ve tried that forever and ever, and it hasn’t worked.
“That formula to me just isn’t working, and we need to go back to what does work and that is with the quickies.”
Border said if Australia opted for just one spinner, Lyon would be picked as “he’s built up enough brownie points over the years”.
Alternatively, the Aussies could play as many as three spinners, with Ashton Agar or Matthew Kuhnemann to join Lyon and Murphy in the line-up in that scenario.
The second Test between Australia and India gets underway in Dehli on Friday at 3pm (AEDT).
Story Credit: news.com.au