India likely to field 3 spinners in Test opener against South Africa

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Mohali, Nov 3: With the PCA track likely to assist the slow ball bowlers against the formidable South Africans, the Indian cricket team management has hinted of fielding three specialist spinners in the Test opener starting November 5 (Thursday) here.

Ind-SA Test series schedule

After having drafted Ravindra Jadeja in the 16-member Test squad, the Indian spin force – Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra being the other two tweakers - certainly seems a tempting choice on a pitch which is expected to turn when the ball grows old.

Jadeja has been in top form in Ranji Trophy and is likely to make a Test comeback in Mohali

India'’s spin trio was certainly on the job, when Ashwin, Jadeja and Mishra were bowling in tandem during the net session as Team Director Ravi Shastri looked on.

Shastri had earlier hinted that South Africa will have to pay if they concentrate too much on Ashwin and forget about the other two spinners. Also with Ishant Sharma serving a one-match ban during the first Test, the Virat Kohli-led side is keen to utilise their spinning options.

Pacers Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron were also keenly watched by the coaching staff as Bhuvneshwar Kumar went through the paces.

Shastri though did not divulge the team combination, saying, "It's not about four or five bowlers, it's the balance that can get you 20 wickets. Like I have kept saying in the past, it depends on conditions. It depends on the weather conditions. In Sri Lanka we needed five because of the heat, it was oppressive. And we could win that series because of that additional bowler."

"We will have to look at the track whether four is good enough or five. We always play to win. We will not be intimidated by their ranking.

"Whether it's home or overseas? And for that we need to take 20 wickets. How we get them? What’s the combination? Is it four, is it five? We will decide once we see the pitch. Tomorrow you can play four spinners if you give me a pitch that will turn. West Indies played four fast bowlers in their team," he added.

There also seems to healthy competition in the batting line-up with Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul eyeing the openers slot.

Skipper Virat Kohli, Vijay, Dhawan had a along batting session against the pacers and the spinners, while Rohit Sharma also got his time and the rest followed. Shastri opined that in-house competition is always good for the team.

"Competition for places, nothing like it. It goes to show everyone is one his toes, nobody will rest on his heels. If you miss out somebody else will grab the opportunity. It's healthy," he said.

PTI

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