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Vaas back in form a good sign

Greenish wicket and early start should help seamers before spinners dominate, writes Tom Moody.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2005 03:02 IST

We got our first glimpse of the Kotla track on Friday afternoon, after finishing our practice at another stadium in New Delhi. It is important to get a feel of a ground before a big game, and we liked what we saw.

This is the first time a Test match will be played on this particular wicket, so there is some concern about how it will play.

However, it looks fine and has a fair sprinkling of grass on it, which means that the seamers will prosper at the start of the match before the spinners come into their own. The 9.30 am start coupled with the Delhi winter will mean that there will be some moisture, which again be good news for the seamers.

I was happy with the way we performed in the day and a half of play we got at Chennai. We gained plenty of confidence from the fact that we dominated with the bat as well as ball, and was pleasing to see that we had lifted our performance during the break between the one-dayers and the Tests.

It's not a huge advantage that we carry into Saturday’s game, but the signs that we saw in the rain-curtailed Test in Chennai were good.

I was particularly happy for Chaminda Vaas, who was quite superb when he got to bowl in Chennai. He had toiled hard over the last few weeks, working on a few aspects of his bowling.

Vaas did not have a very happy time during the seven one-dayers, and it was critical for our team's chances that he recaptured some of his match-winning form during the Tests. That was exactly what happened in Chennai, and things will only get better for him in the cooler conditions in Delhi.

The entire squad is fit and available for selection, but we would like to have one last look at the wicket on Saturday morning before choosing our playing eleven.

As for the Indians, local boy, Virender Sehwag is down with a fever. This will offer an opportunity to Yuvraj Singh or Mohammed Kaif. Whoever comes in, it will be a huge opportunity, and one they would be eager to capitalise on.

There is always plenty of talk conjecture and expectation that revolves round the Indian batting line-up.

As has been the case for years now, much of this revolves round Sachin Tendulkar. There are plenty of theories floating around about whether his elbow problem is still troubling him. I doubt whether that is true, and we are approaching him with the respect we always have for him.

The other player who has plenty written about him is Sourav Ganguly. He has come back from a break and has just had that one short knock in Chennai.

Sure there is huge pressure on him to do well, and only time will tell what happens next. However, all these things do add up, and an under-pressure Ganguly can only work to our advantage.

It will be a great contest starting from Saturday. The Chennai Test never really took off, and both teams are eager to get a full game in, and I am sure the fans can't wait either.

Gameplan

First Published: Dec 10, 2005 03:02 IST