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Chopra content to serve team's cause

A big score may have eluded Aakash Chopra on the tour so far but he is seeking solace from the fact that he has played according to the team plan.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2004 20:44 IST

A big score may have eluded Aakash Chopra on the tour so far but the Indian opener is seeking solace from the fact that he has played according to the team plan and gained the confidence to stand up to any attack in the world.

"It is a part of the team's plan to have good partnerships to start with and then build on big runs. This is the demand of the team so I am just fulfilling the team requirement," Chopra said after India had reached 284 for three on the opening day of the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia on Friday.

Chopra is yet to score a half-century from seven outings so far in this four-Test series and has been dismissed in the 40s thrice.

He missed the half-century mark once again today by five runs but was expecting to hit the big one soon.

"If I am good enough to bat for three hours, I am good enough to bat for six... These are early stages of my career. A big score is round the corner, it is not far off," he said.

After playing against medium-pacers in India, Chopra said, facing quickies like Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie on Australian pitches has been quite an experience for him.

"They are a yard or two quicker than the best I have faced in my career so far. But there is also this confidence that if I can stand up to them, I can stand up to anyone for there are not many better than them in world cricket," he said.

But Chopra was not overawed by the tearaway Aussie speedsters.

"There is no point being overawed. When you are playing Test cricket you are supposed to meet the best of the world. I just try to look at one ball at a moment and don't overreach myself," said the right-hander who made his debut in the home series against New Zealand late last year.

Chopra was delighted he was able to share second successive Test century stand for the first wicket with his partner Virender Sehwag and credited it to the good chemistry they have enjoyed since the school days in Delhi.

"We know each other really well. We have played quite a lot in the junior circuit though he was coming in middle order while I was opening. We are good friends, we know each other in and out and it helps in the middle. I would say he has been my best partner."

Chopra revealed taking sharp singles at the start of the innings was a part of the team plan. "We both concentrate on the singles because the wicket has something in it early on. If we are able to rotate the strike, the bowlers find it difficult to adjust since we are different kind of batsmen."

The pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground has good pace and bounce but Chopra still rated the turf at Gabba in Brisbane as the most testing one.

"At Gabba there was more movement and bounce. As for this strip, it will help spinners later on."

Chopra revealed he spoke to former greats in a bid to prepare himself for the Australian challenge.

"Since I was nursing a fractured finger, I could not practice much. I spoke to Sunny Gavaskar, Geoffrey Boycott and Mohinder Amarnath and also watched a few videos. Their one advice was simple -- since the kookaburra ball does a lot when new, it is better to give the first hour to bowler. That is what I try to do."

The batsman said now that the foundation had been laid, the team could build on it and not repeat the mistakes of Melbourne when India went down by nine wickets to concede their 1-0 lead in the series.

"It is a good total on the first day. We need to build upon it. It is on the back of our mind that we don't repeat Melbourne."