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Indian pitches no help for Ashes buildup: Report

cricket Updated: Jul 26, 2010 10:23 IST

AFP
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Australia face a less than ideal preparation for this year's home Ashes series with a two-Test series on unhelpful pitches in India, the Australian press said on Monday.

Coming off their first defeat in 15 years to Pakistan in Leeds on Saturday, the next stage of Australia's Ashes build-up is two Tests in India.

"The pitches (in India) are about as far from a Gabba greentop or a bouncy Perth pitch as you can get," the Daily Telegraph said.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has conceded that playing Tests in Mohali and Bangalore in October is hardly ideal preparation for the first Test against England at Brisbane's Gabba on November 25, it said.

The newspaper said "pancake-flat" Indian pitches were probably the worst place to try to recalibrate misfiring spearhead Mitchell Johnson, who returned a woeful bowling average of 72 in the two Tests against Pakistan in England.

The Telegraph said that with England arriving early in Australia to play three warm-up games before the first Test, Ponting's men could get caught with their pants down.

The Australian newspaper said the road to reclaiming the Ashes against England appeared steeper than ever following the Test loss to Pakistan.

"The Australia captain insisted that the three-wicket loss to Pakistan had not dented his side's confidence but he could not hide his disappointment with both the batting and bowling during a sub-standard six-week tour of England and Ireland," it said.

"It exposed serious Australian weaknesses and Ricky Ponting said that playing on dry and flat Indian pitches would be a poor tune-up for the five-Test series on harder Australian surfaces, and it could force the selectors to field players who are not in their preferred Ashes XI."