Indians need to have positive approach

Written by: Allan Border
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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The beleaguered Indian team must have gone into the match against Australia in Adelaide with a certain amount of confidence after a hard fought win against traditional foes, Pakistan. That win gave India an outside chance of a final's berth. What, in fact, happened was a batting blitzkrieg by an Australian outfit that is just going from strength to strength. The Australian batting was quite breathtaking. For the first time in the series, Gilchrist and Waugh fired together. When this happens, especially when Mark Waugh goes on with the job, as he did in this game, scoring a brilliant 116, Australia post a big total. It was always looking ominous for India once Gilchrist started to find form and the boundaries started to flow. The opening stand of 163 came up before the completion of the 30th over. Ian Healy has always advocated a simple formula for predicting the final total at this point of an innings. With wickets in hand, you double the score at the 30 over mark and this figure will give you an approximate total. Ian's formula wasn't too far out given that the Australian's total reached 5-329, a record for the Adelaide Oval. All this and Stephen Waugh didn't even bat!

The contest was over for me once Ganguly and Tendulkar were out early in India's reply, although we witnessed an excellent rearguard from Rahul Dravid. We in Australia all knew he had an innings of this calibre in him. He is a class act and in this innings he was positive and aggressive, as was necessary, and really played an excellent knock. Once he was dismissed, the rest of the batting, as usual, fell away badly - or should I say, blown away by some seriously good fast bowling from Brett Lee. If this young fast bowler doesn't end up a superstar in the game, then I'm a bad judge.

As far as one-day cricket contests go, this was a massacre. These things happen from time to time but the bottom line is that the whole summer has been a disaster for India. Once the Indians return home, I suggest a lot of soul searching. I am totally amazed by India's overseas test and one day record. Basically it is abysmal. It seems extraordinary in a country with such a big population and a fanatical love of cricket that a team of players can't be put together that can come to terms with conditions overseas. Australia has been through the doldrums themselves and, from India's point of view, there needs to be a major think tank to work out how they are going to overcome the 'travel bug' and start producing the goods away from home. For a start, they need to have a more positive approach and a bit more 'junkyard dog' attitude.

Basically, the Australians have too much firepower for the Indians. Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee present a fast and fiery combination. The backup bowling has heaps of variety and Stuart MacGill has provided excellent coverage for an injured Shane Warne.

The final series is now almost certain to be between Australia and Pakistan. My genuine wish now is for India to finish with two strong performances in Perth and go home with something to build on.

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