Dhoni relishing turning conditions

PA Sport
MS Dhoni believes the Sardar Patel Stadium pitch will turn

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MS Dhoni believes the Sardar Patel Stadium pitch will turn

India are out to make the most of their famed home advantage as they test England with sub-continental spin in their four-Test series, starting in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

England alarmingly failed to come to terms with Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal on their way to a 3-0 defeat in the United Arab Emirates at the start of the year. MS Dhoni is not about to make direct comparisons between 'doosra' expert Ajmal and his India team-mate Ravichandran Ashwin's own box of tricks.

But as the India captain assessed England's likely struggles in a country where they have not won a series for almost 30 years, he anticipates Ashwin and slow left-armer Pragyan Ojha may be among the tourists' toughest challenges.

"You need to respect the opposition," said Dhoni. "Whichever country you are from, 60 or 70% of your cricket will be played at home - so you're supposed to be good there.

"When you go to a different part of the world, it's a fresh challenge for you. When we go to a different place, it's the same for us. I think it will be the same for the English side here."

The pitch at the Sardar Patel Stadium looks dry already, before a ball has been bowled, and Dhoni added: "I definitely think it will turn."

As for his spin attack, completed by all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, he said: "Ashwin will always be a more aggressive bowler, in the sense he is someone who has plenty of variations and loves to use them.

"Ashwin can almost bowl each and every delivery anyone can bowl - he's got the flipper, the googly, bowls leg-spin, off-spin, the 'carrom' ball...

"Ojha's important role is to keep it tight, so that Ashwin can attack. But sometimes, of course, it can work the other way round as well."

India will be without fast bowler Ishant Sharma because of a virus, but otherwise have a fully fit squad to choose from on Thursday.

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