Can the Kangaoors conquer the final frontier?

Published: Tuesday, October 5, 2004, 19:39 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

A riveting fare is on the cards as India rub shoulders with Australia in the first of the four Test matches at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore here.

Sourav Ganguly's men coming off a series of below-par performances on the tours of Sri Lanka, Holland and England, would look to seize the early initiative and not allow their opposition to settle down.

Ideally, the Indians would fervently hope the spin of the coin fall in their favour and if that is the case, it's almost certain that they would make first use of the strip.

As has been the case in numerous home series, batting first after winning the toss and batting the opposition out of the contest is the mantra to produce results in these conditions.

Let alone the Chinnaswamy track, every Indian wicket offers purchase to the tweakers on the final two days of play.

Having said that one has to put such a score on board in the first innings that the team batting first doesn't need to come out to bat for the second time in the match.

Aussies have gone on record saying that they would play safe. Known to accumulate runs at a fair clip even in Test matches, the Kangaroos would be more inclined to occupying the crease this time around if their past experiences are anything to learn from.

Burly Mathew Hayden, who had amassed over 500 runs when he was in India last time around will be looking for an encore. From the Indian point of view, Hayden could be the real thorn in our flesh and dislodging him could be the key.

In absence of regular captain Ricky Ponting, one could expect newly-designated vice captain Darren Lehmann and wicketkeeper and skipper Adam Gilchrist to stand up and be counted when the chips are down.

The likes of Damien Martyn, who has run into good form with a ton in the tour opener would seek to lent solidity to their middle-order.

The Kangaroos, who have won literally everything on offer in World cricket with the notable exception of missing out on cornering the ICC Champions Trophy glory, would be potty about clinching a Test series win, something they've not been able to accomplish for 35 years since the great Bill Lawry'led side pulled off that remarkable triumph in 1969-70.

Almost every player have let it known that there are better prepared this time and are a fitter lot, save for the injury to Ponting.

Their confidence stems from the fact they are with a full strength side and have a balanced side.

Veteran Glenn McGrath looked in fine fettle in the tour opener and would look to assert his dominance over the Indian batsman.

The brigade of Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz would try to complement the Queensland veteran to every end possible.

Flamboyant leggie Shane Warne, who has been largely unsuccessfully in his two previous tours of India is shaping well and from the Australian perspective, one hopes he is able to cast his spell over the men in blue.

The champion leggie was in prime form in Sri Lanka early this year. He snaffled 26 wickets and was instrumental in Aussies scripting a 3-0 whitewash over the Lankans in their own den.

The key to the series will be how Indians tackle Warne. If the likes of Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly and Yuvraj are able to hold sway over him, half the battle is won.

Of course missing Tendulkar is a big disappointment, the fact remains that the Indian batting still looks formidable.

Another key factor is what amount of damage the spinning duo of Kumble and Harbhajan are able to cause to the cogent Aussie top-order.

If the Indian duo are able to bamboozle them, Indian chances of pulling off a series would brighten considerably.

All said and done, a mouth-watering fare is in the offing and the spectators watching the proceedings should get their money's worth!

Write Comments