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Jaffer looks back for inspiration in Australia

Opener Wasim Jaffer hopes that the top-order will emulate the performances of the last tour, when they visit Australia next week.

cricket Updated: Dec 16, 2007 14:13 IST
Sanjay Rajan

Opener Wasim Jaffer is hoping that India's top order batsmen can emulate those on the last tour of Australia by giving the visitors a solid foundation to build big scores.

Considered one of the better players of fast bowling in the team, the 29-year-old may be on his first tour of Australia but expectations are high that he will be a success in the four-test series beginning on Dec. 26.

"In 2003-04, the openers really played well... gave tremendous starts which made it easier for the middle-order," Jaffer told Reuters.

Explosive Virender Sehwag and the resolute Aakash Chopra shared in two century stands and two fifty partnerships as India drew a remarkable series one-all after going 1-0 up in Adelaide.

"(There is) a lot of responsibility on the top-order, especially the openers. If they (middle-order) get exposed to the new ball it can get difficult," said Jaffer, who recorded the second double hundred of his test career in the recent series against Pakistan.

BATTING CONCERNS

"But if we get through the new ball it makes it easier for all the batting to come," added the Mumbai batsman, who has performed consistency well since he was recalled to the side in March last year.

However, India, aiming to snap top-ranked Australia's two-year, 14-match winning streak during the tour, have form concerns in the top-order.

Sehwag, recalled for the difficult tour because of his experience despite not figuring in the initial list of probables, has struggled for runs in domestic cricket.

Second wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik managed to hold his place as makeshift opener after hitting a fifty in the drawn final test against Pakistan following a woeful run.

Meanwhile, matting mainstay Rahul Dravid has not been able to convert starts since quitting the captaincy in September.

"Rahul is too good a player to be out of form for long. He had a decent series against Pakistan... looked solid," said Jaffer who averages 51.18 this calendar year, scoring 819 runs from nine tests with three hundreds and four fifties.

"Hopefully he'll turn it around in Australia. The opposition will be tougher and that will charge him a bit more."

On his first trip to Australia, Jaffer said he would call on the experience gained from the tour of South Africa, where he scored a century in the final test in Cape Town in January.

"I have a fair idea of what to expect and their bowling attack. Until I get there, I don't want to think too much."