Cricketing tales often hang on slender threads. Journeying to India, Matthew Kuhnemann was not the first-choice left-arm spinner for Australia. That position went to Ashton Agar who was considered the second spinner in the Australian team behind Nathan Lyon.
How things changed! The 26-year-old Kuhnemann, with just over 30 First Class wickets, leapfrogged over Agar in Australia’s practice sessions.
The think-tank too felt Kuhnemman’s quicker variety of left-arm spin was better suited to these wickets.
Kuhnemann was living a dream within a dream here on Wednesday, his first five-for in Tests being an attention-grabbing five for 16 off nine probing overs on day one of the third Test.
He turned the ball, was accurate and used the crease to create the angles. “It feels really good to pick five wickets in a Test against India,” said Kuhnemann after the day’s play.
Importantly, Kuhnemann said he had learnt much from watching Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin bowl in the series. “I watched them closely. In particular, how they use the crease.”
Kuhnemann said senior bowler Lyon was very encouraging and implored him to keep things tight.
Kuhnemann said batting on this pitch was challenging. “It is a dry pitch. Some deliveries are keeping low,” he said.
‘Failed as a batting unit’
India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour said, “It is a challenging wicket. We needed more runs. We failed as a batting unit.” He added, “The wicket has slowed down.”
Rathour said, “With the WTC points at stake, there is pressure to win home games. So there is nothing wrong in preparing such wickets and making best use of home conditions to win. But these pitches are also a double-edged sword.”
Asked about India wasting reviews, he said: “You cannot always get them right.”