Agree with your post. I've done a potted history of spinners in Australia and it shows just how awful a place it is for spinners. Even Warne shelled out in the shield. I was amused at Benaud's belief that Perth was a good place for spinners on account of its bounce. Historically it isn't the case there or most pitches in Oz and I just wonder in amazement at his arrogance believing he knows than the stats. You see Australia's hostile attitude to spinning pitches with the campaign against Sydney when it turned for a brief while in the 80s. Yet a venue that turns would actually prove our reputation to prepare a wide variety of wickets to develop all of cricket's skills.
As to Murali I believe I heard Ponting mention the tactic to deny him wickets. The series against India where he had Mendis' support was in SL but I get your point abt him struggling in India. His record v Aus and India away is a hole in his record. Then again I don't know many bowlers who faced up to 2 such great batting sides. I'm sure Marshall never bowled to anything of the quality of SRT, Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly, Gambhir, Azharuddin, Sidhu, Hayden, Ponting, Slater, Taylor, the Waughs, Gilchrist, Martyn, Hussey, Langer, Boon and Clarke: Even Symonds and Lehmann. Whew! No wonder he shelled out.
I enjoy the variety of wickets tests offer. Greentops, roads, dustbowls - maybe go retro and bring back matting - and agree with your opinion on Conn. What Conn fails to mention is that Aussie pitches can crack up on day 5 which ironically favours pace bowlers more than spin. I can think of John Snow and Caddick at Sydney, Kapil Dev in Melbourne as well as Ambrose and Walsh in Perth as examples. So Conn is wrong about the place he has for spinners in the game. In Oz they can be squeezed out by pace men even on day 5.