They were on a high after decimating the Proteas at home in the recently-concluded Test series but spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are again facing questions about their effectiveness outside the sub-continent after India’s loss in the first ODI against Australia.
While bowlers can have their bad days, the manner in which Australian captain Steve Smith and George Bailey toyed with the duo scoring bulk of the 139 runs that they gave away in 18 overs, it is only logical that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be a tad worried.
Dhoni had spoken about the need for his five-bowler attack to come good, since there is a lack of part-time bowlers in this current squad.
When Rohit Sharma was deployed in the 12th over of the Australian run-chase, ahead of the two regular spinners, it became obvious that the captain was testing waters for his current crop of batsmen to bowl a few overs if needed.
Smith and Bailey responded in kind, attacking the spinners, Rohit included. The latter admitted that it was a ploy on their part, since the Indian pacers had not given them any leeway.
It was a moment of truth for Dhoni, who places a lot of faith in his spinners. And his worst fears regarding the bowling attack’s composition were realised thereafter, both Ashwin and Jadeja proved inadequate on an unhelpful pitch.
“I never thought it will be the spinners who will have a very bad day and the others will have to share that responsibility,” said a dejected Dhoni after the loss.
“When I had spoken about (part-timers) sharing the load, I had talked about one of the fast bowlers having a bad day.”
The pacers had given a tight start, something India had been searching for in their last series against South Africa at home. The last ODI at Mumbai comes into the picture here, when the whole attack was taken apart at will by the Proteas’ batsmen.
With changes in the nature of pitches across the spectrum, and rule changes every season, the limited-overs formats are heavily skewed against the bowlers.
Particularly, the Indian bowlers then need to come up with some answers, when they will be facing pitches that afford no assistance to them, a problem that has cropped up too often for comfort.