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Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 19:34 UK

Unconvincing Aussies avoid defeat

Ricky Ponting
Ponting's side will need to improve when the first Test starts

Australia captain Ricky Ponting scored an unbeaten 58 as his side drew their only tour match ahead of the first Test against India in Bangalore on Thursday.

Set 434 for victory, Australia were 127-2 at stumps on day four against the Indian Cricket Board President's XI.

Yuvraj Singh (113) and Wasim Jaffer (93) had pressed their claims for Test recalls as the hosts declared on 292-4.

The Board XI made Australia toil in the first innings in Hyderabad by amassing 455 to the tourists' 314.

The reliable Mike Hussey's gritty 126 on Saturday was the highlight of the match for the world's number one side, who struggled to cope against India's second-string team.

They will be heartened by Ponting's knock in the second innings as the skipper has a poor record in India, averaging just 12 from eight Tests.

But their bowlers struggled to take wickets on a slow and barren pitch, with off-spinner Jason Krejza being hammered for a demoralising 76 runs off 11 overs following his 0-123 in the first innings.

Ponting defended Krejza, 25, who took over the team's spinning duties after leg-spinner Bryce McGain was sent home because of a shoulder injury.

"For him it's all a learning curve. There is no doubt he has got the skills and he has got the talent," said Ponting.

"But we have got to work out in a pretty short time how we are going to best use him."

Shane Warne is not there now, so the fast bowlers have a real tough job on their hands

Yuvraj Singh
Leg-spinner Cameron White will arrive in India on Monday but will have little time to prepare, leaving Australia with a tough selection choice.

Yuvraj, who was captain of the Board side, believes the tourists' lack of an experienced spin bowler could be crucial during the four-Test series.

"Australia will definitely miss a quality spinner in the series," said the Board President XI's skipper.

"Shane Warne is not there now, so the fast bowlers have a real tough job on their hands.

"But it would be foolish to underestimate the Aussies. They always have a plan and will prove to be formidable opponents."

see also
White to join Aussie Test squad
04 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Aussie spinner out of India tour
03 Oct 08 |  Cricket
India name Ganguly in Test squad
01 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Tendulkar boost for Aussie Tests
26 Sep 08 |  Cricket
Australians commit to India tour
16 Sep 08 |  Cricket
Symonds vows to improve behaviour
16 Sep 08 |  Australia
Australia gamble on spin rookies
12 Sep 08 |  Cricket
Australia in India 2008
09 Apr 08 |  Cricket

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