The last time India played a Test in Hyderabad, beating New Zealand by an innings last August, R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha shared 18 wickets. The two pace bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav, bowled 42 overs for two wickets. Only one of that quartet, Ashwin, is certain to play the second Test against Australia. Despite being consistently excellent in home conditions, Ojha may have to spend more time warming the bench.
"You have to see the opposition line-up," said Mahendra Singh Dhoni after India's eight-wicket win in Chennai. "Especially in this Test match, there were lots of left-handers and we assumed that the wicket would turn. It's often said that the away-going spinner is quite difficult to play. We had someone like Jadeja who can bowl long spells and at the same time be conservative. That was the one of the main reasons we went with two offspinners, and Jadeja doing the left-arm spinner's job."
In 16 home Tests, Ojha has 83 wickets at 28.46, and a strike-rate of 66.3. Since Anil Kumble's retirement, Harbhajan Singh has taken 64 wickets in 15 home Tests. Both his average (35.48) and strike-rate (74.5) are significantly worse than Ojha's. Past performances and the four lefties in Australia's top six nudged Harbhajan ahead in the selection stakes, however, and Dhoni admitted it was hard to imagine playing four spinners as India had in Nagpur.