Reverse-swing appears Australia’s greatest hope of defying history and rattling the top-ranked Test side on their own soil.
And when it comes to making the ball ‘go Irish’, Darren Lehmann, Mitch Marsh and Trent Boult agree the tourists will wield two potent weapons in India.
India A amassed a total of 403 in Australia’s only tour game before the four-Test series starts in Pune on Thursday.
Frontline spinner Nathan Lyon recorded figures of 4-162, while fellow tweakers Steve O’Keefe and Glenn Maxwell both went at more than four runs an over.
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were notably absent from the XI.
“Spinners play a huge role but if the ball starts to go even slightly Irish, you can very successful,” swing specialist Boult told AAP, reflecting on New Zealand’s tour of India five months ago.
“It’s a very tough place to play. India just don’t miss, they put pressure on you all day and do it in almost 45 degree heat.
“The wickets are incredibly difficult as a pace bowler, but Mitch and Josh are quality bowlers and they certainly know a lot about reverse-swing.”
Marsh, who appears set for a Test recall like his brother Shaun, went a step further.
“We’ve got arguably two of the best reverse-swing bowlers in the world,” the allrounder said of Australia’s new-ball pairing.
“That’s certainly something that we’re going to try and use against the Indians.”
Virat Kohli’s juggernaut ploughed through New Zealand last October despite Boult’s best efforts, collecting three Test wins thanks largely to some 27 wickets from Ravichandran Ashwin.
Building big enough totals despite the threat of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the top two bowlers on the ICC’s Test rankings, will be half of the battle for Australia.
Conjuring 20 wickets is the other. Lehmann suggested he was “pleased with the way the spinners are going” but acknowledged reverse-swing would be “crucial for both sides”.
“The pitches wear quickly so it’s a lot easier to get reverse-swing here than most other places,” Australia’s coach said.
“Obviously Hazlewood and Starc are very good at it, so is Marsh.”
Starc, speaking in Dubai during Australia’s training camp, Starc noted it was important he and Hazlewood come to grips with the Indian SG ball.
“It’s a different ball, so there are different challenges there to try and get it reversing and to see if it swings when it’s brand new,” the left-armer said.
Australia are coming off a nine-Test losing streak in Asia, while they’ve won just one single Test series in India during the past 47 years.