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~~Australia ready to conquer the final frontier~~

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 22:43 [IST]
 
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Perth:Vice-captain Adam Gilchrist believes Australia is ready to conquer their final cricket frontier with a series win in India after sweeping their series with Sri Lanka.

Gilchrist is confident of Australia's chances after master leg-spinner Shane Warne spun the world champions to a 3-0 series victory in Sri Lanka.

Warne was named Man of the Series after a stunning comeback to the Test arena with 26 wickets, including two 10-wicket efforts in his first two matches back.

It was the first time Sri Lanka had lost all three Tests at home since entering Test cricket 22 years ago.

Australia's triumph was their first in Sri Lanka since 1992 and India remain the only country yet to be mastered by the world champions in recent times.

The last time Australia won in India was in 1969 when Bill Lawry's team came out on top in a five-Test series 3-1.

Australia lost a monumental series 2-1 the last time they toured India in 2001 with Warne belted by the Indian batsmen, taking just 10 wickets.

Gilchrist feels Warne is now ready to guide Australia against another of the subcontinent's powerhouses when they tour India in September.

"We came home from India a few years ago and Matthew Hayden must have thought playing on the subcontinent's the easiest thing in the world, but the rest of us struggled," Gilchrist said upon his arrival home on Monday.

"We've got that experience under our belt now and hopefully that'll hold us in good stead. Warney ... hadn't done well in India previously so now with this subcontinent experience he'll be better for the run next time. There's still a fair bit of time between now and then and other hurdles to jump over, but certainly coming back there knowing we've won on the subcontinent won't hurt the confidence at all."

Warne's efforts moved him to 517 Test wickets, just two short of West Indian Courtney Walsh's world record.

Gilchrist feels Warne is now bowling as well as ever.

"I think he was bowling better than pre the (drug) ban," he said.

"Doesn't mean he was bowling badly then but he's certainly right back with all that venom now.It was really exciting just to be around his return and to see his results was really a big moment for all of us. Getting 500 and closing in on the world record, hopefully he can get there now."

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