"We are optimistic of full match": Gilchrist

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Kochi, Oct 1 (UNI) Australia vice captain Adam Gilchrist, who led the team in the first of the seven match ODI series at Bangalore in place of injured captain Ricky Ponting, today said the team was hoping that the second match would be played at the Nehru Stadium here tomorrow.

''I am optimistic'', the hard hitting left hand opening batsman said at a press conference at Taj Malabar after both Team India and Australia were forced to miss the net session in the morning as the practice pitches were rendered unfit for play due to sharp showers amidst the forcast of rain in Kerala and Lakshadweep.

Gilchrist, who had a look of the wicket and the outfield, said ''hopefully there will be no more rain. If that is so there will be good chance of a full game tomorrow.'' However, Gilchrist admitted that it was a frustrating experience to have the first match abandoned midway due to rain and the second cominng under the threat of being fully washed out. ''Every game is crucial'', he added.

''Yes, it is frustrating for both teams especially when we are hoping to gain the momentum by winning early and fulfilling the target of winning the series ultimately'', he lamented.

Answering a spate of questions, Gilchrist said that Ponting was almost certain to play if there is a match tomorrow, as his recovery was very good. ''It is a tricky situation with all reports saying there will be more rain'', he added.

But the team was preparing itself mentally and physically. ''We are getting ourselves to stay physically fit'', he averred.

Gilchrist said if Ponting plays, he would obviously be leading the side. ''We will assess the chances tomorrow. If he plays, he will lead,'' adding in jest ''he is still the captain of Australia.'' Gilchrist said changes in the playing XI for the match would be considered tomorrow. ''We will decide based on the conditions tomorrow'', he said, adding the wicket could assist the spinners unlike the one at Bangalore which was conducive to fast bowlers.

Asked about the younger talents in the team, he said ''a couple of them like J Hopes and Brad Haddin have done well picked in place for the injured ones.'' ''Right now it is not on the agenda to give a break to the rest.

We will see each game for changes. We have not finalised the team for tomorrow'', Gilchrist pointed out.

UNI

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