India won't be underdone for first Test: Gilchrist
Despite their warm-up match being hampered by rain, Aussie vice-captain Adam Gilchrist feels India won't be underprepared for the First Test.cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2007 14:44 IST
Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist has warned India won't be underdone despite having most of their only lead-up match washed out before the first Boxing Day Test.
Heavy rain over the past two days here have left India's batsmen with just a total of 48 overs against Victoria at the Junction Oval, and more showers are forecast for Saturday's final day.
But Gilchrist said India's 1-0 series win in the recent three home Tests against Pakistan, that all went into a fifth day and were played over a concentrated three-week period, will ensure Anil Kumble's team is match-hardened.
"They're coming out the back of a lot of Test cricket, a very hard-fought series against Pakistan," Gilchrist said Friday.
"They should be match fit and raring to go."
Australia swept aside Sri Lanka 2-0 in Tests in Brisbane and Hobart last month before crushing New Zealand to take the Chappell-Hadlee one-day series.
But Gilchrist said the Australians were preparing for another torrid battle.
"We had a couple, albeit would have looked like easy victories in the Test against Sri Lanka, but they were quite hard-fought, particularly the Hobart one was a very hard slog to get that result on that wicket," he said.
"I think we're well-positioned to be ready for a tough contest."
Gilchrist rated the Border-Gavaskar Trophy one of the most exciting battles in world cricket, following some epic battles between the sides in recent years, notably India's 2-1 win in 2001 and the hard-fought drawn series here in 2003-04.
Australia have not lost a home Test since India won in Adelaide in December 2003.
"The last 10 or 11 years against them have been very hard fought and reasonably even outcomes, you'd have to say that that's one of the tougher series," Gilchrist said.
"Last time they were out here they really stood up well against us and gave us a real challenge which not many teams have done in Australian conditions."
Gilchrist said it would be counter-productive trying to pepper the tourists with short deliveries.
"Teams can tend to get too carried way with that (the short ball) and you've got to have the firepower, which I think we do, to intimidate batting line-ups," he said.
"But whether that's the right method we'll have to wait and see, and see what the conditions are."
Gilchrist also gave a vote of confidence to spinner Brad Hogg, and backed his inclusion over a fourth fast bowler.
"I have absolute faith in Hoggy if he gets called into the actual XI," he said.
"I'm not making a call 'He's going to take seven wickets on the last day for us to win it', and I don't think anyone should put that expectation on him," he said.
"He's just going to form a part of that line-up and I think he's got a very important role to do."