India v Australia, 1st Test, Bangalore, 4th day

'It isn't over yet - we need four wickets'

Andrew Miller

October 9, 2004

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As Australia closed in on a crushing victory in the first Test at Bangalore, a contented Australian coach, John Buchanan, faced the media at the close of the fourth day:



John Buchanan liked what he saw as the first Test reached the fourth day © Getty Images
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On the way the match has panned out
Well, first things first, it isn't over yet. We need four wickets, they need 360-odd runs, and they've got 90 overs to get them. Who knows what can happen. But in terms of the script, I'm happy with the way things have unfolded. There are areas that we can improve on, in particular our top-order batting, and we hope to get those in place for the next match. But our middle order gave us opportunity to bowl well.

On Australia's strategy
Win the toss - that was the strategy that worked. OK, so maybe that's a bit flippant, but it's always important at the start of a series to establish a bridgehead. Day One saw us reach 316 for 5, and then an outstanding partnership between Clarke and Gilchrist carried us to 450 and gave a good start to the series. But tomorrow those four wickets are the priority.

On the sight of Harbhajan Singh taking yet more wickets
It's not a concern really. The Indian attack is based around spin, ours is based around pace, so you'd expect a higher percentage of wickets to fall to each. In this particular match, Harbhajan took 11 wickets, and Kumble just six or seven, so on balance he's been the outstanding bowler. But all in all, we're pleased with how we are playing.

On the weaknesses in India's batting line-up
It's a very strong batting line-up. OK, so Yuvraj replaced Tendulkar for this match, and on runs alone maybe he didn't fill his shoes, but I don't think he can shoulder full responsibility. I think that right down the Indian order, each player will readily accept a measure of responsibility. A combination of things went against them. We bowled well and created chances, and we put runs on the board. And then maybe they didn't get going in the first innings, and were always playing catch-up.

On the absences of Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar
It's a tough call. Ponting is our captain and No. 3 bat, and Tendulkar is one of the world's greats. It's difficult to play them off each other, but then if you look at the replacements - Simon Katich and Yuvraj - then you can say we came off better.

On the performance of the bowlers
I'm very pleased, and it isn't over yet. All our bowlers have done a really good job, which is shown by the way the wickets are spread, in the first and second innings. And Shane [Warne], in his own words, is really enjoying the way he's bowling at the moment.

On the impact that Glenn McGrath has made
Those were a pretty important couple of overs to take two wickets [in the first innings], but if we'd been bowled out for 250, then all our bowlers and fieldsmen, and the Indian batting line-up, would have had a different approach. It's been outstanding bowling, and it's continued all through the innings. But the foundations were laid by our batting.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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