Anil: Batsmen have to better run-rate to beat Australians


SYDNEY: Captain Anil Kumble says the Indians will have to markedly improve their run-rate in the second Sydney cricket Test if they are to prevent Australia from holding on to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. 

Ricky Ponting's Australians inflicted one of India's heaviest Test defeats winning the Boxing Day Test by 337 runs on Saturday's fourth day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

It was Australia's 15th consecutive Test victory and they will equal their world record of 16 wins set from October 1999 to February 2001 with victory in Wednesday's second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

A victory in Sydney will also secure the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the Aussies with a 2-0 lead after winning the last series in India 2-1 in 2004. 

One of India's major problems heading into the New Year's Test is their painstaking scoring rate at the top of the innings which put pressure on the team chasing down Australia's first innings of 343. 

The tourists were dismissed for sub-200 totals in both innings - 196 and 161 - of a Test for the first time in more than five years. 

Ani said after that he was not going to rush in and make changes before the Sydney Test. 

"We will think about our combination when we get to Sydney and look at the pitch," Kumble said. 

Kumble said India's snail-paced scoring in the Melbourne was a problem. They crawled along at 2.7 runs an over in the first innings compared to Australia's 3.7. 

"It is a concern. If you are looking to win Test matches you need a positive and healthy run rate," he said. 

"Obviously, the conditions did not help and the way the Aussies bowled and we lost wickets at regular intervals didn't help. 

"I'm sure the run rate will pick up and we have the batting to do that. Going forward I'm confident we have the batting line up to be positive and do well. 

"It's just a matter of going out there and batting freely. We didn't do that in our two innings."  

Australia captain Ponting, however, felt his side were in control of the game from the second day when his bowlers strangled India's batsmen. 

“It was a 50-50 game at stumps day one, but the way we bowled and our intensity in the field in the start of day two probably was where the game really changed and swung into our favour,” said Ponting. “We were pretty much in command and control from there.” – AFP/Reuters 

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