It was only the third instance of Indian spinners claiming all 20 wickets in a Test match. But the eight-wicket win in the first Test in Chennai warmed the cockles of Indian hearts as much as it exposed the frailties of the Australians to counter conditions on sub-continental pitches.

Off-spinner R Ashwin struck it rich with a match haul of 12 wickets, while Harbhajan Singh and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja bagged three and five apiece to complement skipper MS Dhoni's swashbuckling 224 that knocked the stuffing out of the Aussies. Barring skipper Michael Clarke and Moises Henriques, the rest were found wanting. To fight back is an Aussie trait, though. What happened in Mumbai after the Ahmedabad Test against England is still fresh in memory and India cannot afford to lower their guard in the second Test beginning here on March 2. Does that put pressure on spinners to deliver, especially with new ball bowlers rendered ineffective in conditions where reverse swing did not hold sway?

Not really, reckoned VVS Laxman. "On a wicket like Chennai, spinners are expected to bowl a big chunk of the overs. Ishant (Sharma) bowled three overs and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) none in the second innings. They (spinners) are more likely to exploit the conditions that suit their skill well. And when they translate that into wickets, it helps their confidence because even in India, spinners sometimes get wickets that are flat and devoid of bounce," he said.

Former India left-arm spinner and National selector Venkatapathi Raju agreed. "Spinners are expected to deliver in Indian conditions, but it's not necessary that they are under pressure," Raju said. "The problem is when they try to do too much that they struggle like it happened in the series against England. That will not be good for the team. In India the pressure is more on fast bowlers but it'll be unfair to expect them to bowl long spells because the conditions are not conducive," Raju added.

So where does that leave the seamers and how are they supposed to perform abroad with little workload under their belt? "International cricket is all about adaptability; to adjust and adjust quickly is the key," Laxman said. "It is for the captain and his feeling of which player will be an asset in the given conditions on the day that matters. There have been many instances when we toured that a spinner hardly gets to bowl on a green top. So it cuts both ways," he added.

"Modern cricket places exceptional demands on players to be prepared in order to excel in all conditions at short notice," chimed in Raju. "Still, it is hard work for the seamers. That is why match practice is so very important when we go overseas. They need to play at least two-three games to get into rhythm because they are expected to shoulder more burden overseas, but in India the spinners should be prepared to take on more workload and deliver too," he added.

Raju made light of the clamour for India fielding four spinners. "India played four spinners in Nagpur against England and still did not win the Test. If three spinners can't, it's unlikely a fourth will do the job. It must be remembered that whenever we won in India, it was on the back of some excellent batting performances," he said.

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Keywords: Indian spinners ,Off-spinner R Ashwin ,Harbhajan Singh ,left-arm spinner, Ravindra Jadeja, skipper MS Dhoni, skipper Michael Clarke , Moises Henriques,VVS Laxman,Venkatapathi Raju,cricket news,sports news