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Gillespie was outstanding

By Glenn McGrath
February 16, 2003 19:30 IST
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Some of the batting I saw from India surprised me on Saturday. I think the problem was that they were trying too hard, and as a result were going for balls they should have left. This always makes the life of a bowler that much easier, since when batsmen try to attack too much the bowler just has to wait for them to make the error.

India always have traditionally had trouble playing extra pace, and this prompted our think-tank to make Brett Lee open the bowling. Sourav Ganguly, who has been having the horrors since New Zealand, was the first one who seemed to be trying too hard, and, while over-attacking, he chased a pretty wide ball. Virender Sehwag, too, did not do his reputation much good by chasing a possible wide.

Sachin Tendulkar looked in very good touch at the beginning, and if one of the batsmen had hung on, who knows, he could have made a difference. However, seeing six wickets fall in such an alarming manner seemed to rob him of his rhythm.

Jason Gillespie was outstanding once again. He has been a little unlucky over the last couple of seasons, so it was great to see him have a man-of-the-match-winning performance at Centurion, and the moment when he deceived the little master with a slower one was really special for him.

Coming into this tournament we were aware that we were one of the few teams that starts off with important games straightaway. This meant that our preparation had to be spot on and that there would be no period to play ourselves in against one of the non-Test playing sides. The going got tougher when Jason Gillespie, Shane Warne, Michael Bevan and I sustained injuries perilously close to the start of the tournament. The fact that Gillespie is the man of the match and I have been feeling so great stands testimony to the caliber of our support staff. Bevan did not have to come in to bat on Saturday, but he has told me that he finds it hard to believe that he had injured himself just three weeks ago.

The Australian cricket team gets plenty of credit for their on-field excellence. But I think our results in the first week of the World Cup are equally due to the hard work of our support staff. It's time to give them some of the credit.

(Gameplan)

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Glenn McGrath