BEFORE the first Test against India started on Friday, it would have taken a brave selection panel to separate the pace pairing of Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc.
James Pattinson was included as the third quick, ahead of fellow squad members Jackson Bird and Mitchell Johnson who both have impressive Test records.
The 22-year-old Pattinson also has a fine CV and has added to it by claiming the third five-wicket haul of his eight-Test career in India’s first innings of 572 on Monday.
Offspinner Nathan Lyon was not as dangerous, conceding 3-215 from 47 overs.
Arguments have raged on Twitter about whether Australia should have included a second spinner — Xavier Doherty — ahead of one of their three quicks for the first Test.
Lyon’s lack of venom so far in this Chennai Test will add weight to arguments for those on both sides of the fence.
Would Lyon have bowled better with fellow spinner Doherty at the other end?
Or would Doherty — whose Test bowling average of 102 isn’t pretty and neither is his Sheffield Shield average this season of 80 — have been heavily punished by MS Dhoni who thumped 224 off 265 balls?
Those calling for Doherty to play in Chennai would have been reluctant to exclude either Siddle or Starc, so Pattinson would have been the logical one to miss out.
Yet Starc and Siddle combined for just one wicket in India’s first innings.
The push for left-arm spinner Doherty to be recalled for the second Test could put pressure on Starc, but not Siddle who leads the attack.
Uncapped offspinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell was overlooked for seam-bowling allrounder Moises Henriques who has made an impressive debut in Chennai with 1-48 off 17 overs after his 68 in Australia’s first innings.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade appeared stumped by a question on Sunday night regarding Australia’s one-spinner strategy.
“He (Dhoni) played really well so if we played two spinners he could have taken down the second spinner — who knows?” Wade told reporters.
Lyon came to India with a tally of 61 wickets at 32.16 in 19 Tests.
But on a pitch that looked like a dustbowl even on day one according to legspin great Shane Warne, he was expected to dominate.
However in Lyon’s defence, Australia also need more than one of their three quicks having an impact.