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Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 13:54 UK

Australia target India veterans

FIRST TEST, INDIA v AUSTRALIA
Venue: Bangalore Dates: 9-13 October Start time: 0500 BST each day
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble
Australia are Border-Gavaskar trophy holders, winning the last two series 2-1

Australia will bid to unsettle veteran members of India's ageing team when the four-Test series begins on Thursday.

Anil Kumble, 38 this month, leads an India side including Sourav Ganguly, 36, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, both 35, and VVS Laxman, 33.

"We're trying to put their older guys under immense pressure," said Australia captain Ricky Ponting, 33.

"We're trying to achieve a new-age type of Test cricket that can make them look a bit slow and past their use-by date."

Ponting believes that if his bowlers and fielders can dry up the Indians' run-scoring, "the whole media over here will jump on them, especially if they lose an early game."

Kumble has already shown his frustration at having to field so many questions about the age of his players, with former skipper Ganguly announcing he will retire from international cricket after this series.

There's no doubt there were a few things in Australia that came across as a bit ugly but we've had a long time to think about those and rectify them

Ricky Ponting
When asked if he also intended to retire at the end of the series, he said: "I will not say yes or no.

"I will let you know when I play my last series. Let the players decide when they want to go."

Ponting is convinced his team can exploit the situation.

"It creates distractions, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"They will have faced a fair share of different distractions to what they're used to.

"Everyone would have wanted to talk about Sourav's retirement, so they will be facing that now for the next four weeks.

"One thing it will do is it will probably take a bit of pressure off Sourav and put it back on some of the other guys in their side, that's the way I see it."

Ricky Ponting practises his batting stance while Kumble (kneeling) assesses the pitch in Bangalore
Ricky Ponting practises his batting stance while Kumble (kneeling) assesses the pitch in Bangalore
The Australia captain also has plans to put the fitness of the more senior India players under scrutiny.

"At the team meeting, we spoke of our running between wickets and drying up the runs by the Indian batsmen by our fielding," he revealed. "That could be the key.

"I really think we can create pressure on them with our intensity in the field at different times."

The last series between the teams, played in Australia in late 2007 and early this year, was marred by an air of acrimony amongst the players.

This came to a head in the second Test at Sydney, when several contentious catches were claimed, before Australia won to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

"I think we know there was a lot of rubbish that came out of that series," Ponting admitted.

"We're aware of our responsibilities, and it's the responsibility of both captains to make sure the game is played in the right way.

We'd have won the Sydney Test match if they hadn't claimed catches taken off half-volleys

India opener Virender Sehwag

"There's no doubt there were a few things in Australia that came across as a bit ugly but we've had a long time to think about those things and rectify them and let's ensure this series is played in a better spirit than the last one was."

That appeared unlikely, however, when India opener Virender Sehwag said that his team had suffered from the "catching pact" agreed before the series down under, where it was agreed that a fielder's word on the legitimacy of low catches would be taken.

"There is no point in having such an arrangement when the Australians are claiming one-bounce catches," Sehwag said.

"We'd have won the Sydney Test match if they hadn't claimed catches taken off half-volleys in that game."

Ponting was less than impressed with those comments and said: "That's fairly insulting.

"In the first innings I didn't claim a catch because I wasn't 100% sure.

CRICKET: DEBATE

"It's amazing how they've picked out a lot of negatives from that game and don't seem to be speaking about the Perth Test (the third match, which India won to make it 2-1 before the final match was drawn), where we probably had the same things happen to us.

"The fact they are still thinking about a Test that they lost is a good thing for us.

"There was a lot that came out of that Test, but we addressed the issues coming out of the game and it would appear, to us, they haven't."

Kumble was diplomatic when asked about that Sydney match and said: "Let's not sit and dwell on what has happened in the past. I'm sure this series will be played in the right way."

Meanwhile, match referee Chris Broad met with both captains, plus coaches and team managers to warn them against making inappropriate public statements during the series.

Broad told them that any such comments could result in a code of conduct charge.




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
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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