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February 20, 2001
Monday, February 19, 2001
Invaluable exposure - Day 3 vs India 'A'
At the start of another beautiful, mild morning in Nagpur, our plan was to bat through the day and gain as much exposure to the dusty spinning pitches as we could. When Damien Fleming was dismissed just five minutes before stumps it would be fair to assume we achieved exactly what we had set out to accomplish. All of the batsmen spent invaluable time at the crease facing several of India's Test hopefuls, on a pitch resembling what we are likely to see during the Test series.
From a personal point of view, I was delighted to have spent nearly four hours combating the sharp, turning ball. Many lessons were learned during my innings and I am certain the confidence boost will be enormous going into the first Test match. My partners, Matt Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn and Steve Waugh, all contributed to our final score although it was the time in the middle that will be most beneficial to all of us.
Listening to the great importance the Indian people place upon respecting their elders and people in authority, I was quite surprised to see the reaction of the young India 'A' leg spinner when he dismissed Steve Waugh today. His performance was perplexing, as one would have thought the captain of the Australian cricket team would command a little more respect than he was granted. In the end of the day, the final figures probably displayed the general feeling of my teammates who treated his leggies with as much regard as he treated our captain.
With the itinerary of international cricket as it is, we are off tonight for a flight back to Mumbai where we will spend the next fourteen days of our life. There is no time for hanging around and enjoying the scenery anymore, as the cricket merry-go-round gets faster and faster with every passing year. Like is becoming the norm, the hotel and airport were crammed full of autograph hunters and well wishers. The Indian people have an enormous passion for the game and its players, as we are finding out everywhere we go.
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Photographs: Justin Langer
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