Friday, October 10, 2008

123...for Ponting and Australia in Bangalore

By John Cheeran
Australia has put aside bravado for the time being. Skipper Ricky Ponting first called 123 at the toss on Thursday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore and a few minutes later walked in to compile a polished 123 to thwart India’s designs of winning the first Test of the three Test Border-Gavaskar series.
On Thursday, everyone was disappointed at the guarded approach of Australians. 256 for four in a day is, not what you have come to expect from the Aussies. But Greg Chappell or Nielsen, Ponting has understood the meaning of playing well in the early hours of a series and the importance of playing the first innings big and proper, especially after winning the toss.
It is true that India’s aging spinners, skipper Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, did not have the best conditions to confound the Aussie batsmen. It would be largely incredulous to expect these two lead the likes of Ponting and Simon Katich astray.
You cannot deny that India had begun well in the series when Zaheer Khan sent back opener Matthew Hayden without a run on the board. And what a deceiving moment that turned out to be. Only in the final few minutes of the day India could salvage some pride by taking the wickets of centurion Ponting and Michael Clarke.
But by then Australia had achieved their basic objective. They had some runs, and denied the first use of batting crease to hosts, and there by, managed to pile the pressure on the home side.
Aussies could not go wrong much from this stage, unless India produce some very, very special efforts in the remains of the Test.

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