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Focus on Kumble ahead of Test

The fitness and form of skipper Anil Kumble is India's main concern ahead of the second Test against Australia starting on Friday.

cricket Updated: Oct 15, 2008 15:06 IST

The fitness and form of skipper Anil Kumble is India's main concern ahead of the second test against Australia starting on Friday.

Kumble, test cricket's third-highest wicket-taker, failed to take a wicket and suffered a shoulder strain as his team scrambled a draw in the first test in Bangalore.

The leg spinner, who turns 38 on Friday, said after the game he hoped to be 100 percent fit to team up with off spinner Harbhajan Singh on a bouncier Mohali pitch that should suit him.

"I definitely didn't have a good game as a player, having my third test in about 130 with no wickets and 100 runs given, but then again I'm the only player in current cricket to have over 100 Australian scalps," he wrote in Wednesday's Hindustan Times.

Kumble, who has taken 616 wickets from 131 tests, hit back at talk about his possible retirement. Several senior batsmen are rumoured to be set to retire while Saurav Ganguly has said he would quit after the current four-test series.

"And for those who are wondering, I'm feeling good. I'm hopeful the shoulder injury I picked up during the match (after bowling 40 overs in the first innings) should be fine by the second test and that it will be business as usual thereafter."

DISCOMFORT

India fans will also be hoping Sachin Tendulkar knocks off the 15 runs he needs to surpass Brian Lara's world runs record.

Australia will relish the home team's discomfort.

Ricky Ponting, who averaged less than 13 in India before the series, ended his poor record by hitting 123 for his 35th test hundred. However, the skipper was frustrated after his pace bowlers failed to skittle India out on an uneven fifth day pitch.

Pace spearhead Brett Lee was below his hostile best and took just one wicket in each innings, while Stuart Clark complained of elbow soreness in Bangalore.

Team physio Alex Kountouris told Australian media Clark would not bowl at Wednesday's training in order to help him recover for the match.

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