हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Could India make it this time?

Written by: Sajith Balakrishnan
Published: Sunday, December 7, 2003, 17:43 [IST]
 
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Contrary to expectations, India have not got off to a bad start in the Australian tour. Traditionally, the Indians are considered poor travellers who take a lot of time to adjust to the conditions and by the time they are used to it, the fate of the series might have been sealed. However, the present series promises a better fare with what one could make out after watching the play on day two and four of the ongoing Brisbane Test.

If it was virtual 'Khan'nage that rocked the Kangaroos on the second day, the Bengal Tiger came out of his den today and made the Aussies dance to his 'music'. Rarely have been the Aussies caught napping as in the this Test. Irrespective of the outcome of Brisbane Test which is meandering into a draw, Indians have scored a few brownie points over their much-acclaimed opposition.

Prior to the series, Indians had been written off as mere pushovers. Their shoddy display in the tour games made the matters even worse. Australians have this uncanny knack of targeting the opposition skipper and this time Ganguly was at the receiving end from both players as well as the media. His swashbuckling hundred at the Gabba went a long way in silencing his critics who questioned his longevity against short- pitched bowling. Ganguly took the sting out of Aussie attack and helped resurrect the innings that at one stage was in doldrums following the dismissal of batting mainstay Sachin Tendulkar under dubious circumstances.

Zaheer Khan and skipper Ganguly (who led from the front today) has provided the perfect launching pad for a Test win in the Australian soil, which has been eluding India since 1981.Their deeds speak for themselves. Both of them had drawn flak for their none-too-impressive record in the recent past.

With his five-wicket haul that rocked the Aussies and brought us back in the game after an indifferent performance on the opening day, Zaheer reposed the faith that the skipper had in him while opting to field first after winning the toss on a greentop. He seems to have exorcised the ghost of the World Cup final as well as the pounding that he received from the explosive Aussie openers in the recently concluded TVS Cup at home. Former paceman Javagal Srinath had once said that the day Zaheer scalps five in a match, he will be the proudest man on earth. Zaheer has done no harm to his cause by now claiming three in a row on foreign soil and is gearing up to fill the void left by the ageing warhorse who quit the game recently. Zaheer has come of age and India can look towards him to spearhead the attack in future.

The Australians -players and media included - which have this habit of targeting the visiting teams' captain and the main players, had targeted Ganguly even before he set his foot Down Under. Disgraced leg-spinner Shane Warne started the campaign by questioning his technique against short-pitched stuff and telling him to get ready for the now-famous 'chin music'. The Bengal Tiger was least perturbed by these comments. Instead, he preferred to talk with his bat. His aggressive captaincy has also helped his outfit to gel as a cohesive unit.

Years ago, Sunil Gavaskar had said in Australia that India had to play against 13 Australians - inclusive of the home umpires who were very magnanimous in negating LBW appeals against the home side. David Boon and Steve Waugh have benefited a lot from these biased officials in white flannels. Add to it the Australian media that can be counted as the fourteenth member of the side and is a potent arm of their bandwagon and very often the HMV of Cricket Australia.

With India taking them on in front of two neutral umpires under an inspired captain who is back to his best, a tearaway paceman who leads the attack with full of zeal and vigour, the day may not be far away when the Men in Blue outclass the Baggy Greens. Contrary to expectations, India have not got off to a bad start in the Australian tour. Traditionally, the Indians are considered poor travellers who take a lot of time to adjust to the conditions and by the time they are used to it, the fate of the series might have been sealed. However, the present series promises a better fare with what one could make out after watching the play on day two and four of the ongoing Brisbane Test. If it was virtual 'Khan'nage that rocked the Kangaroos on the second day, the Bengal Tiger came out of his den today and made the Aussies dance to his 'music'. Rarely have been the Aussies caught napping as in the this Test. Irrespective of the outcome of Brisbane Test which is meandering into a draw, Indians have scored a few brownie points over their much-acclaimed opposition. Prior to the series, Indians had been written off as mere pushovers. Their shoddy display in the tour games made the matters even worse. Australians have this uncanny knack of targeting the opposition skipper and this time Ganguly was at the receiving end from both players as well as the media. His swashbuckling hundred at the Gabba went a long way in silencing his critics who questioned his longevity against short- pitched bowling. Ganguly took the sting out of Aussie attack and helped resurrect the innings that at one stage was in doldrums following the dismissal of batting mainstay Sachin Tendulkar under dubious circumstances. Zaheer Khan and skipper Ganguly (who led from the front today) has provided the perfect launching pad for a Test win in the Australian soil, which has been eluding India since 1981.Their deeds speak for themselves. Both of them had drawn flak for their none-too-impressive record in the recent past. With his five-wicket haul that rocked the Aussies and brought us back in the game after an indifferent performance on the opening day, Zaheer reposed the faith that the skipper had in him while opting to field first after winning the toss on a greentop. He seems to have exorcised the ghost of the World Cup final as well as the pounding that he received from the explosive Aussie openers in the recently concluded TVS Cup at home. Former paceman Javagal Srinath had once said that the day Zaheer scalps five in a match, he will be the proudest man on earth. Zaheer has done no harm to his cause by now claiming three in a row on foreign soil and is gearing up to fill the void left by the ageing warhorse who quit the game recently. Zaheer has come of age and India can look towards him to spearhead the attack in future. The Australians -players and media included - which have this habit of targeting the visiting teams' captain and the main players, had targeted Ganguly even before he set his foot Down Under. Disgraced leg-spinner Shane Warne started the campaign by questioning his technique against short-pitched stuff and telling him to get ready for the now-famous 'chin music'. The Bengal Tiger was least perturbed by these comments. Instead, he preferred to talk with his bat. His aggressive captaincy has also helped his outfit to gel as a cohesive unit. Years ago, Sunil Gavaskar had said in Australia that India had to play against 13 Australians - inclusive of the home umpires who were very magnanimous in negating LBW appeals against the home side. David Boon and Steve Waugh have benefited a lot from these biased officials in white flannels. Add to it the Australian media that can be counted as the fourteenth member of the side and is a potent arm of their bandwagon and very often the HMV of Cricket Australia. With India taking them on in front of two neutral umpires under an inspired captain who is back to his best, a tearaway paceman who leads the attack with full of zeal and vigour, the day may not be far away when the Men in Blue outclass the Baggy Greens.

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