Perth pitch: Hell for India, help for Aus

Team India will have to call on all its experience on the pitch at Perth that's famously recognized as one of the quickest in the world.

updated: January 16, 2008 18:01 IST
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Peace might have been achieved in Perth for now, but starting on Wednesday, it will be time for the speedsters to unleash pace on the batsmen in the Third Test.

On a wicket that's famously recognized as one of the quickest in the world, Team India will have to call on all its experience and all its confidence to stand up to what is sure to be a ferocious Australian pace line up.

Australians are all geared up wit their best team. Brett Lee is considered the best bowler in the world right now and Shuan Tait is probably the quickest bowler in the world right now. Stuart Clark is not the steadiest bowler at present but he's getting there.

And currently, Mitchell Johnson isn't the best-left arm bowler in the world but together there's enough in this attack to make it a fearsome foursome and give them a pacy Perth pitch and you can truly have fireworks.

For decades the pitch at the Waca was world renowned for its pace and bounce, exploited by the attacking combination of Lillee and Thomson.

The ball would go flying to the wicket keeper who would stand 30 yards away from the stumps but then in the mid 90s and the years after the wicket slowed down considerably, many believed that it would never be the same again.

But the curator and the grounds men have worked hard to ensure that it gets its character and if recent evidence is anything to go by, the Indians will not have it easy.

The recent 20-20 game at Perth between Australia and New Zealand proved that Perth is back to being at its bounciest best.

"The pitch in Perth can be quite a test of bounce," said Adam Gilchrist, vice captain, Australian Team.

Cameron Sutherland, Curator at Perth said, "I hate predicting, we are obviously looking at the pace and bounce which is characteristic of the pitch, that's what we are aiming for, traditionally the Waca doesn't break up, so you're looking at assistance for the bowlers early on and bit for the batters as the game goes on."

Sachin Tendulkar is the only Indian who has played a test at this ground. That was when he made a sensational 100 in 1992 but India lost that game by 300 runs.

This time the odds of a turnaround win are stacked against India. Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and Munaf Patel are all injured and the batting line up isn't settled either especially after Virender Sehwag staked a claim in the tour game.

"That'll be discussed in the team, Sehwag's got a big 100 in the last game and has the respect of the Australians in the way he plays. That'll definitely be a factor in the decision-making. Rahul is more comfortably and suitable for batting at No 3. That's something that'll certainly be discussed in the next two days," said Gary Kirsten, Consultant Coach, Indian team.

Australia, meanwhile are aiming for a 17th test win in a row, which would better their own world record. And for now not many are assuming that India will be able to stop the streak like they did in Kolkata in 2001.

Guru Gary discussing the game plan for Perth with his boys. With the exception of Sachin Tendulkar, no one in the team has played test cricket here, and in what is regarded as the toughest conditions in Australia, and Kirsten feels specialist openers are a must and Sehwag could get a look in.

India have the uphill task of preventing a record 17th straight Test win for the Aussies. This was the Indian team struggling to play the Australian fast bowling on the fast and bouncy track in Perth in an ODI in 2004. This time around too, the pacers are licking their lips

While peace has been brokered in Perth, there may not be too much calm for the Indian batsmen, Sachin would be hoping to repeat his performance of 114 that he scored almost 16 years ago albeit in a losing cause.