Pitches in Australia tough on finger spinners
The four Tests in Australia will be played at Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. Out of these four venues, the prospect of a surface of having some spin only lies in venues of Sydney and Adelaide. Last time India played at Adelaide, they lost the Test by 48 runs on which Nathan Lyon picked 12 wickets in the Test, while the Indian spinner Karn Sharma, making his Test debut, picked four wickets.
The story is that in Australia even on the pitches which give assist to spin, one needs to keep the bounce in check, as most of the times, the ball bounces over the stumps. Indian spinners never get used to this fact and have not succeeded in Australia in recent times and also traditionally. Whereas Australian spinners know how to bowl at the venue and how much spin to impart and in this matter, Nathan Lyon has been highly successful even against teams which play spin well, like India.
R Ashwin has not played at the venue and given that India now has a potent fast bowling attack, and the option of playing a wrist spinner in Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, who likes to bowl on pitches like Sydney, thanks to his nature of not spinning the ball more, bowling stumps to stumps and bowling at a fast speed, Ashwin might not be the best bet.
Even at Sydney, a venue that helps spinners, the best figures by an Indian bowler is 8/141 by Anil Kumble in 2004 Test and it was a toiling day for the premier spinner in his prime. But he was able to do so because he was a wrist spinner and could get bounce and spin from the tough pitch. Ashwin’s last sojourn with Sydney pitch ended up in him picking 5 wickets for 209 runs.