Ganguly, Ponting play mind games

India and Australia might be slated to clash in a Test series only later in the year, but the mind games are already on.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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India and Australia might be slated to clash in a Test series only later in the year, but the mind games are already on with Ricky Ponting declaring that Indians would not find Shane Warne an easy proposition when they tour the sub-continent in October. "Shane has not done well on the last two tours to India, but I know for a fact he was battling a few niggles in the body," said the aggressive Australian captain after the tri-series match with India was abandoned due to rain. "Now he is in top shape, the ball is coming out right from his hands and he sure would be a factor when we tour in October," Ponting added. Sensational return Indian captain Sourav Ganguly acknowledged Warne to be a big enough factor in world cricket but felt his batsmen would take a lot of confidence going into the series because of how they have done in the past against the leg-spinner. "He is obviously their key bowler. He would make a difference to any side. But we have played him well over the years. Still, he is the kind of bowler who can win matches any day," he said. Warne's return to international cricket after a one-year ban for a positive dope test before the 2003 World Cup has been nothing short of sensational. He caught up with Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan as the leading Test wicket-taker for a while and is now poised to overtake the Kandy man who has been ruled out of action for the rest of the year due to a shoulder problem. India 'up for it' Ganguly, who led his side to a Test win in Australia in the last season during the four-match series which resulted in a 1-1 draw, accepted that his side would have to be "up for it" especially in the wake of Australia's 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka recently. "They indeed did well in Sri Lanka and we have to be up for it. Still, we would now be meeting them three times in a year and that's enough, frankly speaking," the Bengal tiger roared. Indeed, Australians proved that they had adapted brilliantly to the sub-continental conditions of Sri Lanka where Shane Warne made a remarkable return to Test cricket with 26 wickets at 20.03 from the three games. Biggest draw India and Australia are the biggest draw in world cricket and, despite India's recent reverses in one-day internationals, they remain a potent side in the longer format of the game. "We have performed well in Test cricket over the last two years. We hope to do it again when they come to India. I feel we have been good in Test cricket in the last two years," said Ganguly. The Australians have not won a series in India since 1969-70 and the burning ambition of their former captain Steve Waugh to conquer the 'Last Frontier' remained unfulfilled. (PTI)