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Australia hope to expose India's Dad's Army

Published: Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 15:13 [IST]
 
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BANGALORE:
World champions Australia are looking to put India's veterans under pressure when their eagerly-awaited four-Test series opens here on Thursday.

Captain Ricky Ponting said his team was determined to expose the old legs of skipper Anil Kumble, who turns 38 this month, Sachin Tendulkar, 35, retiring Sourav Ganguly, 36, Rahul Dravid, 35, and Venkatsai Laxman, 33.

"That's what we're trying to achieve, put their older guys under immense pressure," Ponting, 33, said at a match-eve media conference at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

"I really think we can take them on in the field, almost a new-age type of Test cricket that can make a few of their guys look a bit old and a bit slow.

"I really think we can create pressure on them with our intensity in the field at different times and make them look past their use-by date.

"At the team meeting, we spoke of our running between wickets and drying up the runs by the Indian batsmen by our fielding. That could be the key.

"We know if we do that, and make little things stand out, their whole media over here will just jump on them, especially if they lose an early game."

Tendulkar, with 11,877 runs from 150 matches, goes into the series needing just 77 more to overtake retired West Indian Brian Lara as Test cricket's most successful batsman.

The Indian is already the leading one-day batsman with 16,361 runs and has scored more Test (41) and one-day (39) centuries than any batsman in the world.

Australia, hoping to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, will choose between untested rookies Cameron White and Jason Krejza to fill up the lone spinner's spot.

Victorian leg-spinner White was picked to replace the injured Bryce McGain for the series despite taking just six first-class wickets last season.

Off-spinner Krejza, who hails from Ponting's home state of Tasmania, was hammered for 0-199 by India's second string in a four-day match in Hyderabad last week.

The good news for Australia is that vice-captain Michael Clarke has now recovered from a stomach virus and all-rounder Shane Watson has been declared fit to play his first Test in three years after suffering a chest infection.

Australia omitted opener Phil Jaques from the 12 announced on Wednesday, leaving Simon Katich to partner Matthew Hayden at the top of the order.

India narrowed their 15-man squad to 13, leaving out seamer Rudra Pratap Singh and batsman Subramaniam Badrinath.

Both teams will finalise their starting XI just before the toss on Thursday after another look at the wicket that appears moist due to heavy rain over the last two days.

"It's been watered a bit and with all the humidity around, it should help the seamers a bit," said Ponting.

Australia (from): Ricky Ponting (capt), Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Cameron White, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark, Jason Krejza.

India (from): Anil Kumble (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Venkatsai Laxman, Mahendra Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Munaf Patel.

Umpires: Rudi Koertzen (RSA) and Asad Rauf (PAK)

Third umpire: Amish Saheba (IND)

Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)

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