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India-Australia rivalry bigger than the Ashes: Katich

Published: Friday, September 12, 2008, 12:55 [IST]
 
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New Delhi: Stating that the rivalry between India and Australia has become bigger than the Ashes in recent times, Australian middle-order batsman Simon Katich has predicted that next month's Test series will be tough for his side.

Katich, who is currently in India as captain of the Australia A team, stands a chance of making the trip to India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

In the last two decades, the Ashes has witnessed just two competitive Test series (1986 and 2005). In contrast, every India-Australia contest, with the exception of 1999-2000 has been bitterly fought.

''I feel the hard fought series in 2001 when India won that Test match in Kolkata after being down in the dumps triggered this fascinating rivalry,'' Katich told a website.

''Later we beat India in their own backyard in 2004 after 35 odd years and got the much-desired revenge.

''It was one of the greatest victories for us. Once again India came to Australia last year and it was a fantastic series. This year in October once again it's going to be a toughie for us. I can't wait for it,'' he added.

Recalling the tour of 2004, he said,''Our quick bowlers did a fantastic job getting the ball to reverse. That definitely helped us beat the Indians. Shane Warne's contributions can be easily forgotten since the quickies grabbed all the wickets but honestly he played the role of support bowler really well and got the breakthroughs at crucial junctures. I think the most important point is that we were rather defensive in our approach.

In the third Test match of that series in Nagpur, there was a huge rift in the Indian contingent. Sourav Ganguly had a spat with the curator and opted out of the Test match.

When asked about the feeling in the Aussie camp at that time, he said, ''Oh we thought it worked towards our benefit. We smelled a rift in the enemy camp and it was good for us. We saw some grass on the pitch and loved it. We carried a lot of confidence after the comprehensive victory in Bangalore.'' ''We were going into Nagpur knowing that we could strike the rod when it was hot. However, we were beware that the Indians have a fantastic batting line-up and we could not have made the mistake on underestimating them. So I would say the feeling in the camp was brilliant and we surely did party hard after clinching the Nagpur Test.

UNI

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