Faridabad track leaves a lot to ponder

Published: Thursday, October 30, 2003, 1:53 [IST]
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Faridabad: The wicket at the Nahar Singh stadium was the centre of a debate after Australia dismissed arch rivals New Zealand for a paltry 97 on their way to an eight- wicket win in the TVS Cup triangular One-day cricket series match on Wednesday. Fast bowlers Brad Williams (4-22) and Nathan Bracken (3-25) scythed through the Kiwi batting line-up that folded about one hour before the scheduled lunch break. Australian captain Ricky Ponting said it was a good toss to lose as he would have batted if he had won while the Kiwis, who surprising opted to bat first, found the track "difficult to read". "I was going to bat first. I told the coach in the morning I would not mind if I lost the toss," Ponting said after the match. "Playing one-day cricket is about getting the batsmen out and putting up a good total.

I thought it would be a very good wicket to bat once it dried out. It had a lot of grass, still I did not expect it to swing as much as it did," said Ponting adding "I did not expect the wicket to do as much as it did. Both (Nathan) Bracken and Brad (Williams) are good swingers of the ball, and made the most of the conditions." For Man of the Match Williams, who returned with his best bowling performance, it was 'from one extreme to the other' after the clobbering he received at the hands of Sachin Tendulkar and Venkatsai Laxman in the first match against India at Gwalior. "Coming from Gwalior, it was from one extreme to the other and I don't know what to expect next," said the 28 year-old Williams who made his debut against the Kiwis at home in 2001-02.

"After Gwalior I learnt that I have to hit the deck hard, Williams said. "(Here) I tried to run in and bowl my usual way". "There was a bit of moisture so it swung a little bit, and there was some grass, so it bounced a little bit too, which very well suited my bowling. New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who termed the defeat "devastating" at the presentation ceremony, chose to have one more look at the wicket and asked his coach Ashley Ross to parry the questions from the media after the match. Ross said the wicket was a difficult one to read. "We looked at the possibilities but it was a difficult pitch to read. Probably, as Ricky (Ponting) said, it was a good toss to lose," he said.

Ross, who is the Black Caps' stand-in coach and will make way for John Bracewell later this season, said his team would bounce back strongly from today's defeat. "The Kiwis are the most dangerous when they have their backs up against the wall. We are not intimidated by the Aussies, we like to play them as much as possible." Ponting said his team learnt a lot from its defeat in Gwalior and wondered whether the pitch would have had any grass if the match featured India. "there would have not been any grass if we were to play India', he said.

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