India better placed against Australia in series opener

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Bangalore, Oct 8 (UNI) A confident looking India is eagerly plunging into the four test series against a 'shaky' Australia in the first test beginning at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here tomorrow.

The visitors who were not impressive in their limb loosener against Board President's XI despite arriving two weeks ahead of the series to get acclamatised to local conditions will however play different tune in the series.

But Indian skipper Anil Kumble is satisfied with his team's preparation during the five-day conditioning camp at the venue of the test and also with the performance of some of the mates during the Board President's XI tie. "The team is fully geared to take on the Aussies," he said.

The first test will be the last outing for two legendary Indians -- present skipper Anil Kumble and most successful captain Saurav Ganguly who has announced his retirement after the series. The leg spinner today asserted that the test would be the last on home ground, though he would continue for some time.

Refusing to accept that his team was not at the highest level of confidence, Ponting said today that it was ready to take up the challenge and was fully confident of facing Indian on its home soil.

With a hot debate across the country on the continuance of the might four in the middle order, who for more than a decade dazzled and put the country on the top gear, the performance of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V V S Lakshman and Ganguly would be watched keenly during the series.

A number of youngsters of the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath waiting on the wings to take their slots in the Indian team. Repeatedly they had sounded the selectors about their performance, especially Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who proved their form in the Board President's tie against the Aussies.

While Indian selectors have reposed faith in the seniors with, while Australia fields a relatively inexperienced team.

Explosive opener Virender Sehwag holds the key for India to put up a good score that can help experienced middle order bat with better confidence.

Indian bowling is in ship shape with spinner duo of Kumble and Harbhajan ready for a major role. The speedsters in Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Singh have been in good nick and with his present form the Delhi youngster is expected to continue his tormenting of the Aussies after his successful tour down under.


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