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Why the Aussies rule cricket

December 04, 2003

A span of three overs in the post-lunch session at the Gabba was as good an indication as any of the way this Australian side plays its cricket.

In the ninth over of the innings, Ajit Agarkar came in to bowl for the first time. He started his Australian campaign with a very good maiden over to Justin Langer, from the Vulture Street End (33/0, after nine overs).

The first four deliveries of the tenth over, from Ashish Nehra, were equally good, beating Hayden outside off with movement. And then -- after a sequence of 10 deliveries that ranged from good to great -- came one small error.

Nehra pitched marginally short. Any other opening batsman, after such a sequence of good deliveries, would have hesitated; probably, left the ball alone. Hayden pulled; powerfully, precisely, for a four (37/0 in 10).

Langer squared up to Agarkar's second over, after having survived a torrid time in his first. The first four balls of the eleventh went 2, 4, 4, 2. At that point, 16 runs had been scored in six deliveries, the spell was broken, and Australia had turned the pressure back on the Indians.

Most teams take a session to do that; to absorb pressure and to then turn it around. Australia does it in the space of an over or two -- a not insignificant reason for why they are world champions.

Thirteen overs gone, 70/0 at over 4 an over, on a juicy pitch, under an overcast sky, facing the new ball; that is the whole story, told.

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