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|November 29, 1999||
Queensland scalp Indians
First Pakistan, now India. The Queensland 'Bulls', on a roll this season, completed the formalities with a 10-wicket win, well inside the prescribed four-day period, over the Indians in the first of two warm-up games ahead of the first Test in Adelaide beginning December 10.
All it took was 20.5 overs and a little under one session for Queensland to complete the formalities. Skipper Stuart Law, taking over the opening slot from Mathew Hayden, and Jimmy Maher, made light of the task of scoring 81 to complete the victory in 96 minutes of play on the morning of the fourth day, completing the win with over two sessions of play, and close to 70 overs, to spare.
And that is as convincing as they come.
India tried out all its four frontline bowlers, with little joy. While Maher concentrated on keeping his end going, and seemed in some trouble against the seam-up stuff of Mohanty and Kumaran in particular, Law stroked fluidly right from the start, smashing 60 off just 65 balls, with 13 boundaries.
At the end of the first of the warm-up games, thus, India take home very few positives, and quite a bunch of negatives. The only positive to come out of the game, in fact, was the early form shown by VVS Laxman. With Gandhi, thus far, looking a touch discommoded by the extra bounce at the Gabba, Laxman's form means that India have at least one opener in some kind of touch, ahead of the first Test.
But that is it as far as positives are concerned. The biggest of the negatives, thus far, is the team's inability to adapt to the longer version of the game -- in the second innings, thus, the Indians failed to show a good understanding of the needs of the situation, and were bowled out in just over 70 overs. More pertinently, both Dravid and Tendulkar looked well set, but fell playing that one shot too many -- and that is a worrying sign for the tourists.
A bigger worry is the bowling -- barring Kumaran, none of the bowlers impressed in the Queensland first innings. And in the second essay, all four regular bowlers came on easily to the Bulls' openers.
Srinath thus seems likely to have to take a tremendous load on his shoulders -- more so if Kumble can't get his flippers and googlies to go on the bouncier tracks in Australia. The Queensland batsmen played him like a medium pacer, going either fully forward or fully back and playing shots square of the wicket to take the sting out of his bowling -- and if, as it appears, there was calculation in the attempt to hit him off his line early in the series, then India has a huge worry on its plate.
On the plus side, it has one more warm-up game to get its act together.
Mail Faisal Shariff
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