SPORT

Australia's positive approach to the fore

The first day of a Test series has its own significance. The side that does well gains a psychological advantage and often carries that momentum into the rest of the days and matches.

The Australians, especially over the last few years when they have dominated world cricket, have invariably managed to seize the initiative from the opponents on the opening day.

It was no different in Brisbane on Thursday. On a day when rain cut into cricket, the Aussies, in just 62 overs of play, managed to cross the 260-run mark with eight wickets still intact. The kind of score that reflects the positive approach and attitude of the Aussies. This side certainly does not waste much time in asserting itself.

On the other hand, the Indians appeared to be in a negative frame of mind. This was very much evident in the methods employed by the bowlers.

Both Ashish Nehra and Ajit Agarkar bowled well outside the off-stump when they should have been operating on or around the off-stump. These methods proved counter-productive.

The point is you just cannot check the Aussies by restricting them. There is far too much quality and depth in the Aussie batting for these tactics to succeed. Against the Aussies, a side has to meet fire with fire.

Having elected to bowl, the Indian gameplan looked a defensive one, the sole exception being Zaheer Khan, who made an impression with his zestful bowling.

Justin Langer stood out on day one, and the left-hander's unbeaten century indicates his enormous will to succeed. Langer has taken a few knocks early in his career, but these setbacks only appear to have made him stronger.

He may not be as big and powerful as his opening partner Matthew Hayden, but Langer is no mean strokemaker himself, strong on the cut and the pull, like most Aussies.

It was a day when all the four Australian batsmen on view made a contribution with Ricky Ponting's strokeful half-century showing us the kind of form he is in.

The Indian bowlers were unable to prevent partnerships from developing and they do need to strike early on day two. For that to happen, the bowlers will have to back themselves and believe in their ability.

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