SPORT

A wonderful batting display

It has been a wonderful fight back by India after the first day. Grabbing the first innings lead over World Champion Australia is a victory in itself.

The Indian pacemen, Zaheer Khan in particular, operated with must zest on the second day, concentrating on or around the off-stump and landing the ball in the right areas.

There was some moisture on the pitch, and the pacemen made the most of the conditions, a cloud cover also helping their cause. Importantly, Zaheer and Ajit Agarkar caught the batsmen in two minds - whether to play the ball or not - instead of bowling a negative line.

And when his team was in some bother with big names Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid departing cheaply, Sourav Ganguly produced a captain's innings, with his positive approach standing out.

The Indian batsmen went for their strokes and chose the right deliveries to strike. V.V.S. Laxman, continuing from where he had left against New Zealand, came up with some fine shots too and the Australians, for once, were at the receiving end.

There has been much talk, especially from the Australian camp, about Ganguly's discomfort against short-pitched bowling and how the Aussie pacemen planned to exploit it.

The Indian captain replied in a spirited manner and some of his strokes were breathtaking really. Ganguly has been under some rather needless criticism in recent times, and the fact that he is among India's most successful captains is easily forgotten.

Such a knock from the captain is bound to inspire his men. With his hundred, Ganguly has also sent a strong message to the Australian camp that this Indian team could not be taken lightly.

Openers Akash Chopra and Virender Sehwag played their parts well too, and then, after the Australians threatened to come back strongly, Ganguly and Laxman forged a partnership that will stay in my mind for a long time.

It was easily one of the most entertaining displays by the Indian batsmen away from the sub-continent and full marks to Ganguly and Laxman for the manner in which they seized the initiative from the Australians on the fourth day.

After the bowlers took a battering on the first day, the Indians' body language has shown a remarkable improvement and the team has regrouped extremely well.

The Indians may also have found the right formula to counter the Australians. Discipline in bowling and aggression, without resorting to desperate methods, in batting.

Zaheer appears to have taken on the responsibility of being the side's pace spearhead extremely well. He hit the seam often and got the ball to move and bounce at a brisk pace. The Indians have to be careful about their over-rate though.

They do have to carry the momentum gained in Brisbane in the remaining three Tests.

www.kris-srikkanth.com

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