Coach and selector Mickey Arthur faced the media to explain why the team’s No.1 spinner Nathan Lyon had been dropped after taking 3-215 and 1-29 in the first Test in Chennai, where India won by eight wickets.
Offspinner Glenn Maxwell had 0-55 off 10 overs on debut after Sunday’s second day of play in Hyderabad and even Arthur admitted the allrounder had gone “not very well”.
Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty — in his third Test and first since 2010 — had 0-85 off 26 overs and also looked to be lacking in penetration.
Australia had made 9-237 declared and India were 1-311.
What was going on?
Arthur said Lyon had been told to go back to the nets to work on some technical issues but remained highly regarded by selectors.
The other two guys, well they battled on manfully, he said.
Fast forward another two sessions of play and India had been bowled out for 503 as they claimed a first-innings lead of 266.
But the perseverance of Maxwell (4-127 off 26 overs) and Doherty (3-131 off 46.1) offered a tiny ray of hope.
Lyon would be confident of returning to the side soon, possibly for the fourth Test in Delhi on March 22.
The sight of Doherty and Lyon operating in tandem would prove to be an interesting bowl-off with the Ashes series to follow in July when perhaps only one spinner will be required. – AAP