India will bank on their big batting four to notch up the runs to claim a historic first series win in Australia, starting with the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
India have won just four Tests in eight Australian tours, but pushed Steve Waugh’s Australians all the way in the drawn 1-1 last series tour here in 2003-04. Batting great Sachin Tendulkar believes India have their best chance of beating Australia on their home grounds for the first time.
Tendulkar forms the most experienced middle-order quartet in world cricket with Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, weighing in with 32,610 runs gleaned from a total of 442 Tests and with 87 centuries between them.
“I think it would be the most important tour (ever) if we can pull it off,” Tendulkar told a pre-Test match press conference.“Beating Australia is obviously the ultimate thing because of the way they have played for so many years, so it makes it a special tour,” he added.
“The Little Master,” who ranks second to West Indian Brian Lara as the highest run-getter in Test history with 11,289 runs, is rated one of the greatest batsman of all-time and was a favourite of late Australian cricket icon Don Bradman.
The Indians fancy their chances on the strength of their impressive recent away record — Test series victories in the West Indies in 2006 after 35 years and then in England in 2007 after 21 years, under Rahul Dravid. New skipper Anil Kumble recently led his side to a 1-0 win in the three-Test series against Pakistan, India’s first success against their rivals at home since 1980.
But Australia ranks as the toughest challenge for all touring teams Down Under. Australia’s last home series loss was 14 years ago to the West Indies 2-1 and they have been unbeaten in 26 subsequent home series.
Under Ricky Ponting, the Australians have won their last 14 consecutive Test matches and are the undisputed world champions at Test and one-day level. It will be a supreme test for the Indians, starting with the showcase Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
But this time they do not have to contend with Australia’s two bowling titans, Shane Warne (708 wickets) and Glenn McGrath (563 wickets), who retired from Test cricket earlier this year.
It will be up to Brett Lee (247 wickets in 61 Tests) to lead an inexperienced bowling line-up and the challenge of dismissing the powerful Indian batting order, for Australia to claim victory in each Test.
Lee will be backed by a relatively inexperienced support crew — Shaun Tait (5 wickets in two Tests), Stuart Clark (54 wickets in 11 Tests), Mitchell Johnson (8 wickets in two Tests) and leg-spinner Brad Hogg (9 wickets in four Tests).
Much will depend on pace spearhead Lee, man of the series in last month’s 2-0 home Test win over Sri Lanka, to blast out the Indian batting. But the Indians will be a tough nut to crack with Dravid (9,683 at 55.97), Ganguly (6,346 at 43.17) and Laxman (5,292 at 44.10) backing up Tendulkar on the score of experience and durability.
The Australians will be banking on the runs from their experienced trio, opener Matthew Hayden (7,832 at 52.56), Ponting (9,508 at 59.43) and Adam Gilchrist, the most dangerous No 7 in Test cricket, with 5,420 runs at 49.27.
Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke and the emerging opener Phil Jaques give Australia’s top-order a solid look. It should be a high-scoring four-Test match series with the Melbourne Test followed by Sydney (January 2-6), Perth (January 16-20) and Adelaide (January 24-28).
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Anil Kumblee, Australia, India, India in Australia 2007, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, December 24th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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