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Questions raised by bowling effort

By AAP .
17 February 2013 11:27PM EST

AUSTRALIAN selectors were hoping their three-day game against India A would answer some questions about their bowling attack, rather than raise them.

The tourists' strategy seemed clear enough.

New-ball partners Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc were named to play in the full-strength squad's only tour match before the first Test on February 22.

Seam-bowling allrounder Moises Henriques was also picked after taking 4-12 in the two-day game against the India Board XI.

And the team's regular spinner Nathan Lyon was joined by two-Test player Xavier Doherty and 19-year-old Ashton Agar in a three-man bowl-off for a possible two spin spots for the first Test.

However, while the spinners did claim eight wickets between them during the weekend, India A were allowed to pile on 451 runs on a flat batting track.

Siddle, Starc and Henriques all bowled tightly but took only two wickets between them.

The three spinners all conceded centuries, bowling more overs but less maidens than the quicks.

Australia's slow bowlers were unable to maintain pressure, something which will be even more crucial in the tense atmosphere of Friday's opening to the four-Test series at Chennai's Chidambaram Stadium.

It will be hot and humid and any loose bowling will be seized upon by India's batsmen.

Agar claimed 3-107 off 20 overs, removing three tailenders late in innings.

Doherty's determination to push the ball through and bang it hard into the wicket to get turn out of the spin-friendly pitches could count in his favour for selection alongside Lyon.

Any variation to the combination of Siddle, Starc and Henriques plus two spinners would be a risk, but the bowlers in general haven't excelled apart from Henriques taking 4-12 against the India Board XI.

Doherty finished with 3-108 from 24 overs against India A, having taken three of the first four wickets to fall.

Playing Agar ahead of Doherty would be a risk, but playing Doherty - whose Shield average of 80.00 this season doesn't inspire confidence - would also be a gamble alongside Lyon.

Australia's latest plan might involve three quicks plus Henriques and Lyon. Skipper Michael Clarke has indicated he plans to bowl his left-arm spin and also throw the ball to occasional leggie David Warner in Chennai.

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