At the end of their only practice match before the four-Test series beginning in Bangalore on October 9, Ricky Ponting was insistent that Australia would play a specialist spinner in the first Test although he stopped short of saying who that spinner would be. “White will be here and one of those guys (Cameron White or Jason Krejza) will play the Test match for us,” said Ponting. “We will have a look at the wicket when we get there but we think one of those two will be in the side.”
Krejza’s travails continued well into the final day, but Ponting stood by his bowler. “Jason was very nervous during the first spell of the game and you could see that. I think he improved by the end of his spell in the first innings. He got into good rhythm and used the angles very well,” he said. “Today the batsmen were a lot more aggressive with the thought of declaring at some point of time. It”s a learning curve for him. Jason has got the skills and talent and he has to work out for himself what he needs to do to be successful and we need to work out in the short time how to use him best.”
What this means is that there is added pressure on both the medium pace attack and on the batsmen to put big runs on the board. “It”s important in this series that our batters make big scores. So the pressure is on every single one of us. The last time we came here, we put a lot of pressure on our fast bowlers to execute a certain style of play. We expect them to lead from front and take the pressure off,” Ponting conceded.
“We like putting ourselves under pressure, pitting our skills against every other player in the world. I am very happy what we have got out from this game.”
Ponting also did not agree with the assertion that his bowlers would be against much better players of spin in the Tests. “Look, I am not sure if the guys (who will play the Tests) are a step up, to tell the truth. There are a couple of guys who I have seen here and Yuvraj in particular is as good as anybody against spin when he is actually being aggressive. He hits the ball as hard and clean as anybody.”
Yuvraj Singh was happy with what he got out of the game, leading the Board President”s XI. “In the past, I had lots of confidence and I just want to get that confidence back,” he said. “As I got to 30-35 in this innings, everything came back. It was important for me, as a personal challenge, to come back this morning and take on Brett Lee. I had to go through that and just be there till lunch. So it worked well for me.”
Yuvraj did his best to sound diplomatic when asked about Australia”s spinners, but it”s a little hard to praise bowlers who you have hit for 74 runs off only 52 balls, with 3 fours and 7 sixes raining down. “They have a good pace attack but I think they might lack in the spin department,” said Yuvraj. “They don”t have a good spinner at the moment. So, if fast bowlers don”t take wickets it”s going to be tough for them.”