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Allow the likes of Ponting, Hussey to breathe easy

What a Test this has been. Australia came back superbly on Wednesday to pick up seven wickets, and then India rattled the rather shaky Aussie top order. Kudos to the curator. Sourav Ganguly writes.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2011 23:05 IST
Sourav Ganguly
Ricky-Ponting-pulls-a-ball-away-on-the-third-day-of-the-first-Test-match-between-Australia-and-India-at-the-Melbourne-Cricket-Ground-in-Melbourne-AFP-Photo

What a Test this has been. Australia came back superbly on Wednesday to pick up seven wickets, and then India rattled the rather shaky Aussie top order. Kudos to the curator.

Learning experience My first visit to this part of the world was in 1991 with the India team as a 17-year-old. Although I did not get much of an opportunity in that series, watching greats like Allan Border, David Boon was a learning process. Since then, I have visited this country four times and every tour was a big help to my career.

The period of 1996-2007 was one of Australian domination. Teams got intimidated by the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, the Waugh brothers and Ricky Ponting, and at times you stood wondering how you'd win in this part of the world. Now when I sit in the commentator's box, I can see a remarkable decline in the team, something which is understandable as one cannot produce champions all the time.

Before the start of the series, there was talk about replacing Mike Hussey and Ponting and getting in young players. Australia had two tours of South Africa and New Zealand and although they did not lose the Test series, their innings of 47 in Cape Town and the collapse against New Zealand triggered further uproar in the media and amongst past players, who forgot that you cannot be on top all the time.

On Wednesday, when Hussey and Ponting were putting up that partnership, I felt there is justice at the top for everyone. On a wicket which had help for the bowlers, two of the most senior guys stood up. They put up 115, which is so far the biggest partnership and could be the deciding factor. It was not just the runs but the manner in which they stood tall. Coming in at 27 for 4, it required that sort of effort to take a team through. Hussey is still not out on 79 and if he can put in another 40, it could seal the Test for Australia.

At times, it's important to get the best out of the ageing greats and the Australian selectors have to find a way of doing so. Class doesn't go away easily.

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(The writer plays first class cricket for Bengal)