Mitchell Starc’s footmarks - a blessing in disguise for India

Sydney: India is secretly hoping Australia retains Mitchell Starc in their playing eleven for the second Test match in Hyderabad, as Chennai Test`s chief tormentor Ravichandran Ashwin is exploiting pinpoint footmarks inadvertently created by the left-hand quick.

Starc could be a victim of Australia`s potential decision to play a second spinner in Hyderabad after the promising quick (0-75) struggled to find the right length from 25 wicket less overs in the series opener, but the Indians are sweating on the Australian selectors keeping faith in Starc.

The Indian team noticed Starc`s natural run-up in the first Test roughed-up the Chennai pitch in the precise region where Ashwin lands his right-arm off-breaks, according to sources close to the host team.

The footmarks created by Starc`s loping stride helped Ashwin rout the Australians, with the 26-year-old returning match-figures of 12-198 to spin the Indians to an eight-wicket victory.

The perfect demonstration of Starc`s unintentional pitch assistance came on day four, when Ashwin produced a wicked delivery that turned sharply from off to leg to trap Michael Clarke leg before wicket, the paper said.

By day five, there were deep craters and undulations around the batting crease, making it almost impossible for the tourists to stave off India`s suffocating walls of spin, the paper added.

Starc is one of Australia`s finest practitioners of reverse swing, but the rookie quick is unlikely to be retained ahead of James Pattinson and Peter Siddle if selectors opt to play a second spinner.

Starc was the only frontline Australian bowler to go wicket less in the first Test, but Australian captain Michael Clarke had refused to point the finger of blame at the 23-year-old after their Chennai defeat.