India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 4th day October 12, 2010

George hopes to build on nervous start

ESPNcricinfo staff
It would be sensible not to judge Peter George on the basis of this one performance, but after coming through when his team needed him most, he'll certainly feel less of an outsider

Two other Australian cricketers have dismissed Sachin Tendulkar in their debut Test. One, Cameron White, will probably not play Test cricket again. The second, Peter Siddle, has to start from scratch, after a back injury that's kept him out for nearly a year and forced him to remodel his action. Peter George, as awkward as the ugly duckling when first thrown the ball, will hope that he has better luck after showing signs that he has a big role to play in Australian cricket's future.

After the skittish start, the coltish-looking George finished with an impressive return of 2 for 48 from 21 overs. It's unlikely that George will be waxing eloquent to his grandchildren about the wicket of Zaheer Khan, but it'll be hard to stop him talking about the first scalp: a swinging delivery that induced an inside edge from a bat that had appeared to be a feet few wide until then.

"I definitely wasn't giving up hope," he said after the day's play. "It just came down to patience. We had to keep plugging away and trusting in the plans we had. To get Sachin was just great ... a shock. I was elated." When asked how his team-mates had responded, he grinned. "Most of it was just 'congratulations' and 'well done'. Just relief from most of the guys to see the back of Sachin after a lot of hard work."

After just 19 first-class games, he admitted that it had taken him a while to find his Test-match feet. "I've felt a lot more comfortable each day," he said. "I had a bit of a nervous start. Today, there was a bit of swing in the air and it made me feel more a part of the game.

"My first over the day before was especially nervous. I hadn't really experienced something like that. I definitely calmed down [during] my next spell back. This morning, I felt comfortable. I could run in and do my own thing, without worrying too much about trying too hard."

A raucous crowd was part of the learning experience and for a young man asked to bowl his first over to Sehwag, it was nearly too much. "The crowd was something I've never experienced," he said. "When Sachin brought up his 14,000th Test run, it was an unbelievable experience ... all those screaming Indian fans going nuts. It was quite deafening to be out in the middle and it's something I'll always remember. To make my Test debut in front of such a crowd is special for me."

He was responsible for a couple of humorous moments too, with the super-slow bouncer that had both batsmen and team-mates staring in disbelief. "I told a few of the boys about that the night before [the game] and they looked at me like: 'what's he talking about?'" he said a smile. "So I bowled it and went: 'there you go'. On a wicket like that, without too much bounce, I thought it was an opportunity to try it and see what happens."

Australia were on the rack on Monday morning, with the Indians leading by eight runs and five wickets still to take. Tendulkar's wicket changed the game completely, with the tail offering next to no resistance. But with the pitch now playing tricks and Australia poised to set a target of 200 or more, George was confident that a series-levelling win wasn't beyond his team.

"It looks like the wicket is getting harder to bat on. We'll try and make as many as we can in the morning and we'll be confident of defending that.

"We learnt a lot from the last game and how we played. We did a lot of things right. A narrow defeat like that can be a learning experience, and hopefully we can turn it around this game."

Had he been a more seasoned pro or more of an extrovert, he would probably have scoffed at the suggestion that he might be the next Glenn McGrath. But as it was, the question just prompted another half-smile and a soft-spoken answer. "To be compared to McGrath is a great honour for me," he said. "If my bowling action's similar, it's because I watched him as a child, growing up. Kids generally resemble their favourite cricketers in the way they bat or bowl, so there's a fair bit of McGrath in my action. If I do half as well as he did in his career, I'll be a very happy man."

McGrath finished with 3 for 142 in his debut Test, and no one marked his card for greatness. It would be sensible not to judge George on the basis of this one performance, but after coming through when his team needed him most, he'll certainly feel less of an outsider, going into a final day when Australia has the chance to pull off one of its greatest-ever victories.

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  • Ryan on October 13, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    I was watching you bowl and I felt really bad (sorry I have to say it). I could see you were nervous out there. I hope you can overcome those nerves and perform. Good luck Pete.

  • Dummy4 on October 13, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    Let's hope Peter George's career is more like McGrath's than the other great beanpole Australian bowler of the past 30 years, Bruce Reid.

  • Dummy4 on October 13, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Its great we are giving young quicks a chance like George & Hazlewood also in some squads. I think it will soon be time to start giving the young batsmen a go. Khawaja 200 yesterday, Hughes, Smith to name a few. @Priyansh ... IIRC Ravi Shastri was Warne's first .... after he had absolutely pummeled him!

  • Vinayak on October 13, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    timely found.... as like of Stuart Broad of England... Keep on the pace as Sachin's wicket touched ur grace... :)

  • Andrew on October 13, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    @f - Ravi shastri was warnies first wicket after he had scored a double ton

  • Chris on October 13, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    well done peter and good luck in the 4th innings. Nice to see some nice words from indian supporters. Should be a good day of cricket no matter the result.

    I haven't seen him bowl, but hopefully his pace will improve over time if he bulks up a bit.

  • Gopalakrishna on October 13, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    Well done Peter George.. I was actually surprised he was so under utilized on day 3 by Ricky!

  • Shankar on October 13, 2010, 1:54 GMT

    @Priyansh - Shane Warne had a "great" debut - giving away150 runs off 45 overs, and picking up the sole wicket of Ravi Shastri, who had already scored 206 runs in that innings. Holy cow, there was no sign of what havoc that bloke was going to cause on the entire cricketing world. I guess there are a lot of greats who have had seemingly harmless starts ... Should ask cricinfo stats people to compile one such list, for both batsmen and bowlers...

  • Harvey on October 13, 2010, 0:17 GMT

    Tendulkar gave George his first wicket. It was a ball outside off that was played onto the stumps. A batting error, not a bowlers wicket.

  • Allan on October 12, 2010, 23:48 GMT

    You could see the huge difference in his confidence post Sachin's wicket. It was great to watch! Reminded me of Ishant after Ponting's wicket. However, the author wrote that Sachin was out to "a swinging delivery that induced an inside edge from a bat that had appeared to be a feet few wide until then." WTF?? It always amazes that even so-called experts cannot differentiate between a swinging delivery, and one that cuts-in off the seam/pitch. George's delivery to Sachin may have swing out very slightly, but the deviation off the pitch combined with the low bounce is what got him playing on. It was a great delivery, but please get your terminology correct. Besides if he's McGrath'esq then it's movement off the seam/pitch not swing that he would be emulating. McGrath was not a swing bowler! He hit the deck, got the ball to wobble, and cut-in or cut-out with accurate line and an awkward unplayable length.

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