Reverse-swing an option for Australian quicks

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 07:31 13/02/2013

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Spin did the damage as Australia were bowled out for 241 against an Indian Board XI on Tuesday, but opener Ed Cowan says the tourists are confident their pace attack can be just as threatening on day two.

Cowan top-scored with 58 as Australia struggled on a turning pitch in Chennai against uncapped offspinner Parvez Rassol who claimed 7-45.

"The big things today that we saw were the significant reverse-swing early, the ball started reversing maybe in the 13th over," Cowan said.

"As an opening batsman that's something foreign. And then the slow turn that increased during the day.

"It was very different conditions so it was good to spend time in the middle."

Cowan says seeing the ball go reverse early is very good news for the tourists.

"Our guys know how to reverse the ball and they bowl at good pace," he said.

"The faster you bowl, the harder reverse swing is to play. They (pace bowlers) will play a major part tomorrow."

Opener Usman Khawaja (32) and No 3 Matthew Wade (35) were others to get starts for Australia.

The top-order of Cowan, Khawaja and Wade all showed a willingness to sweep with varying success as Australia tried to be attack against the home side's spinners.

Steve Smith (41) may have taken an early advantage over his rivals for the vacant Test allrounder's spot as Moises Henriques (16) and Glenn Maxwell (duck) failed to fire with the bat.

"Steve Smith, I don't think you could say he's the front-runner," Cowan said.

"I'm not a selector so I don't know what the pecking order is."

Khawaja and Cowan shared an opening stand of 77 at the tree-lined Guru Nanak College Ground, where the genteel atmosphere was heightened by having two waiters in black suits carry trays of drinks to the players.

"It didn't feel like I need to seal the deal," Cowan told reporters amid speculation Test No.4 Shane Watson might be better suited to returning to the opening role.

"The talk is in the press and not in the change room.

"But from a personal point of view ... just to get back in that mindset of being able to bat for a long time and the rhythm of batting was really important."

Cowan has been a victim of Australia's summer scheduling and hasn't played a first-class game since the Sydney test against Sri Lanka in early January.

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