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The Indian team’s preparations for the World Cup recovered from a minor hiccup when Shantakumaran Sreesanth replaced the injured Praveen Kumar in the side.
The UP bowler has not yet recovered from an elbow injury sustained on the South Africa tour.
Though there were some calls for Ishant Sharma instead, the Kerala cricketer is the man in form. Sharma is a far cry from the bowler he was on his debut Down Under in 2008. He has been bowled into the ground; a case of poor handling by captain and coach. In his case, the rotation policy is a joke.
Two tests began on the 16th of December, 2010. One at Perth, the other at Centurion.
The similarities were striking. Both pitches were expected to have something for the speed demons. And they did.
For Australia, after being shot out for 268 on the first day, it looked like deja vu. The Englishmen were on top and were pressing for an unprecedented third Ashes triumph, in the process, signalling their willingness to end the Punter’s reign at the helm.
Ricky Ponting feels that the Perth wicket will allow him the luxury of playing four fast bowlers. Horses for courses is the theory in play. It may well be a ploy that could backfire. The last time India played Australia in Australia, it was at Perth that the Indians pulled one back to make it 2-1 under the inspiring leadership of Anil Kumble. The Englishmen’s cause,however, is not helped by Stuart Broad’s injury and consequent absence.
If this is the Final Frontier for India, is the run-up to the series the Final Countdown?
If Tendulkar scores his 50th ton in the first Test, will he be a centurion or a half-centurion at the Centurion?