Sourav showed Aussies are mortal
The rain in Brisbane didn't dampen India's spirits and Sourav Ganguly must be smiling contentedly to himself following a commanding performance. In a classic case of the captain leading from the front Ganguly abandoned all inhibitions about batting on bouncy Australian pitches.Updated: Dec 09, 2003 01:42 IST
The rain in Brisbane didn't dampen India's spirits and captain Sourav Ganguly must be smiling contentedly to himself following a commanding performance at the Gabba.
In a classic case of the captain leading from the front Ganguly abandoned all inhibitions about batting on bouncy Australian pitches and hammered the bowlers into submission.
Not only did the skipper's innings send a strong message to his opponents that India is here to compete it also showed the younger breed among his own players the Australians are mortal and can be put to the sword if you approach the job with intent and determination.
And India's position of superiority was achieved without a contribution from Sachin Tendulkar who was cut down by a poor umpiring decision. If those who believe these things happen for a reason are correct, it could be that Tendulkar's untimely demise was meant to be a severe test for the rest of the Indian team. If so, they passed with flying colours and will now be better prepared for the remainder of the Australian challenge.
However, despite the enormous boost to batting confidence from the damp squib first Test match the most important thing India learned from the Gabba is that the Australian batsmen can be dismissed if you consistently bowl the right line and length.
This message was hammered home again early in the second innings when Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar terrorised the top order batsmen with the new ball darting around and beating the edge.
The bowlers will need to store this message in an easy to retrieve spot in the mind because the different pitches require slightly varied approaches. The other point they must absorb is that having done it in the first Test they can't relax because the Australians won't be easily swayed from their plan to attack the pace bowlers early.
Zaheer was every bit as inspiring with the ball as Ganguly was with the bat. He accepted the difficult challenge of being the bowler charged with the responsibility to disperse the myth that in the face of an onslaught the faster bowlers would wilt. He did this emphatically by dismissing all three of his tormentors from the World Cup final and the recent TVS series.
Zaheer accounted for both the highly dangerous left-handers Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist by moving the ball towards the slips and then had the confidence to bounce out Ricky Ponting when he was well set.
His performance inspired the competitive Agarkar who put behind him a lacklustre first day to share in the spoils. The impressive thing about both India's batting and bowling in the opening exchanges of the match was that at a crucial point in each innings it required great mental strength to recover their poise and this was readily available in ample supply.
Adding to the cheeky confidence displayed by India at the Gabba was the opening stand of Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag. It was always expected that the audacious Sehwag would be a dangerous opponent but in concert with the solid Chopra he embarked on a concerted running campaign that also told the Australians "we are not daunted by your reputation for sharp fielding".
First Published: Dec 09, 2003 01:42 IST