Sachin may move up the batting order

Published: Thursday, December 23, 1999, 5:30 [IST]
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Sydney: Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar is considering moving himself up the batting order to help his team square their three-match series with Australia when the second cricket test gets underway in Melbourne on Sunday.

Although the master batsman has refused to confirm whether or not he will move away from his preferred spot at number five, he has indicated he is thinking about stepping in to stabilise the brittle Indian top order. The Indian skipper knows all too well that his batsmen have failed to make any real impression on Australia's bowlers during their tour of Australia.

The tourists lost the first test in Adelaide by 285 runs and face a similar drubbing at the Melbourne cricket ground unless they can quickly rediscover their form. Their biggest problem, however, could be the mood of their opponents. The Australians are on a high after winning their last five straight tests and have no intentions of letting up. Australia's selectors, noticing the way India's top-order struggled against the quickies, have already signaled their intention to go for the throat by choosing the uncapped Brett Lee in their 12-man squad.

Australian captain Steve Waugh believes Lee is the fastest bowler he has seen since Australia's legendary 1970s speedster Jeff Thomson after playing alongside the 23-year-old in an interstate match last week. Lee claimed eight wickets, and broke the arm of Jo Angel, during a fiery spell that had the normally reserved Waugh waxing lyrical about the young tearaway.

"He gave us a lot of firepower and as a captain it's always great to have someone who is bowling real quick and making it hard for the opposition,'' Waugh said. But the player who is likely to take centre-stage is Australia's incomparable leg-spinner Shane Warne. Warne needs just one more wicket to become the first slow bowler in history to claim 350 test scalps and seven wickets to pass the great Dennis Lillee's Australian test record of 355 victims.


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