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Adelaide Oval will be real test for the pacemen

The biggest plus to emerge from the Brisbane Test is that the public in Australia as well as the media here will realise that Team India has got the goods to give the Australians a good fight even at home.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2003 02:06 IST
Brett Lee

The biggest plus to emerge from the Brisbane Test is that the public in Australia as well as the media here will realise that Team India has got the goods to give the Australians a good fight even at home. As a member of the Australian team I can vouch for the fact that the players have a great deal of respect for the Indians. However, some articles that preceded the first Test suggested that the media was taking them a little lightly.

What I saw of the Indian batting effort made me want to get back into action even more. I played a one-day game for New South Wales against Victoria last weekend, and starting Friday I will be playing a four-day match in the Pura Cup competition. Once I prove my match fitness, I should be ready for the Boxing Day Test.

Coming back to Brisbane, the highlights for me were Ganguly's superb show of temperament and talent on a difficult track, Tendulkar's slight misfortune and Jason's exceptional bowling. Many would feel that the Australian bowlers were struggling, but they were bowling with a wet ball at times, and that can be tough for fast bowlers.

In my last article I had mentioned that too much should not be read into the poor show by some of the Indians in the warm-up games since they are the kind of players who reserve their best for the big game. It is interesting to see that some positive articles are now coming out about Ganguly in the Australian media, and quite obviously, the Indian captain's ploy of letting the bat do the talking has worked.

I also thought Zaheer was pretty special on the second day, when he generated some pace and achieved great consistency, a factor that is so crucial for success at the Gabba.

However, the true test for the fast bowlers lies ahead of them in the Adelaide Test. If Gabba is fast bowlers' territory, then the Adelaide Oval is batsman's territory. It's a flat wicket, so the new ball is really important here, and often, the team that uses the new ball better has won.

The other factor that bowlers need to keep in mind is that line is extremely important here. The straight boundaries are long while the square boundaries are pretty short. So if a bowler offers width, cross-batted shots as well as cuts and pulls will be extremely productive.

If there is one challenging wicket for the fast bowlers it's the Adelaide Oval. The spinners might enjoy conditions a little more, as the pitch does deteriorate and keep low from the third day onwards.

The teams are now on more even footing than at the start of the first Test, and full credit to India for ensuring that. The Australians also did themselves no harm by ending the Gabba Test on a strong note. Steve Waugh timed his declaration very well and even succeeded in putting some pressure on the Indians late on the final day.

First Published: Dec 11, 2003 01:59 IST