India announce Test itineraries
The Indian cricket board has finally announced the itinerary for this winter's home Test series against Australia and South Africa. A four-Test series is scheduled to begin against Australia at Bangalore on October 6, with further matches scheduled for Chennai, Nagpur and Mumbai. Kanpur and Kolkata will host the two Tests against South Africa in late November.
India's Test series against Australia is widely being billed as one of the showcase match-ups of the past decade. On their previous visit in 2000-01, Australia led 1-0 in the three-match series and had forced India to follow-on at Kolkata, when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid turned the game - and the series - on its head with a wonderful 376-run partnership. Australia went on to lose 2-1, and have not won a series in India since 1969.
The current evenness of the two teams was emphasised when they met again in Australia last winter for an eventful four-Test series that was drawn 1-1. The finale came at Sydney, where Steve Waugh bowed out as Australia's captain, even though it had been his long-stated aim to be victorious on Indian soil.
South Africa had been pencilled in for just a one-day series, because it had been feared there would be no time to complete a full tour. But in the end, they have opted for a two-Test stopover, with the one-day games deferred until next year.
30 Sep - 2 Oct v Indian board president's team, Hyderabad
6-10 Oct First Test, Bangalore
14-17 Oct Second Test, Madras
26-30 Oct Third Test, Nagpur
3-7 Nov Fourth Test, Bombay
South Africa tour
14-16 Nov v India A, Jaipur
20-24 Nov First Test, Kanpur
28 Nov - 2 Dec Second Test, Calcutta