Australia eyeing 400-mark in ODIs

Published: Sunday, January 30, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:World champions Australia have always raised the benchmark for themselves and now they want to be the first team to score 400 runs in a One-Day International (ODI) match.

"It's certainly been promoted to the players that the concept of 400 is a reality, and that we should be the first team to achieve it," coach John Buchanan was quoted as saying in 'The Australian'.

"The concept's there, and I think it's another of those little hills the One-day side is striving to achieve," he said about the goal which only one team has come close to in 2,213 ODIs contested around the world over 34 years.

Sri Lanka had scored 398 for five in 50 overs against the minnows Kenya in Kandy on the way to their maiden World Cup title in 1996.

Buchanan said the Australian want to reach new horizons.

"Rather than being happy with 'yeah, we're beating everybody' - and we like to win - we need to keep raising ourselves. This is just one example, and there's no reason why it can't be achieved."

Ricky Ponting, since taking over as one-day captain three years ago, has been inspiring his team to strive to improve in every match. Four of Australia's five highest one-day totals have been posted since 2002, when Ponting took over.

The current constitution of his team, with Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Ponting and Andrew Symonds in the top five, makes a 400-plus total look attainable.

"I think it (400) will happen and I think it's something that's pretty achievable for our side," Ponting said. "It's not really anything we've sat down and spoken about, but it has been written on some of our team meeting blackboards at times - and with our team we think it's something that's achievable."

Ponting and Buchanan believe a score of 400 is achievable at any venue, including the vast Australian grounds, provided the team institutes a couple of changes to their current one-day game plan.

The first is that the openers partner for 200 or more in the first 30 overs and lay a solid foundation.

Buchanan believes that one of the openers must adopt the sort of role Geoff Marsh played in the late 1980s and early '90s by batting unbeaten throughout the innings, albeit with quick scoring.

"We need a good launch pad to work from and that may mean going back to the old days where the Geoff Marshes of the world batted through an innings," Buchanan said.

"Where he would finish with 130 or around that mark, it may mean we need to have one bloke make 180 or go on to become the first to make 200.

"Either that, or we've got to get two scores of 140 or 150. And we would have to do some simple things like running between wickets better to pick up a further 10 or 20 runs an innings."

Ponting said batsmen would also need to work on their mind-set not to give up their job after scoring past 300.

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