Hoping for turn, turnaround


Ashwin has played eight Tests, Pragyan Ojha sixteen. They have featured in five Tests as a pair. They took 73 wickets in those five Tests, but their opponents were the West Indies - without Chris Gayle - and New Zealand.

Pedigreed batting line-up

England, for all their presumed weaknesses against spin, possess a far more pedigreed batting lineup. Alastair Cook has played in India before, and his four Tests here include a century on debut and three fifties. Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen scored centuries during England's tour of Sri Lanka last season. Ian Bell is a fine batsman who seems to possess all the technical skills required to make a lot of runs in the subcontinent. He hasn't on his last two tours; he might on this one.

Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel both made runs in the warm-ups, and are both aware that the other waits to grab his place in case of a slip-up. Matt Prior is perhaps the most dangerous No.7 in the world. Nearly all their bowlers can bat.

And they can bowl too. Since January 2009, England's bowling average on the subcontinent is 28.49 — significantly better than India's 35.60. On their recent tours to the UAE and Sri Lanka, they took all 20 wickets in four out of five Tests, never once let their opponents score 400, and on one occasion bowled Pakistan out for 99.

In those five Tests, their fast bowlers took 38 wickets, of which 18 went to James Anderson, who proved that he was a skilful operator even in dry, dusty conditions.

Both captains, when asked about their assessment of the Motera wicket, used the word 'dry'. Dhoni suggested that reverse swing may play as significant a role as spin. If that is the case, Anderson becomes a major factor. As do Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan.

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