Australia display reserves of strength in India

Australia underlined the strength of their reserves in a rain-abandoned first one-dayer against India on Saturday, and stand-in skipper Adam Gilchrist said their performance boded well for the future.

Reserve ‘keeper Brad Haddin hit 69 and then all rounder James Hopes lashed 37 in the final overs to help revive Australia’s innings after early trouble to total 307-7.

They were the perfect supporting acts for Michael Clarke, who struck a career-best 130 and shared in a 144-run fifth wicket partnership with Haddin, and 73 for the next wicket with Hopes.

Clarke’s effort came at the same venue where he notched his highest Test score of 151 on his Test debut in 2004.

Wicketkeeper Gilchrist, who deputised for injured captain Ricky Ponting in the game, was delighted.

”Anyone that is playing in this tournament, it is a chance to continue to be picked,” he told reporters.

Fast bowler Shaun Tait, batsman Mike Hussey and all rounder Shane Watson were forced out of the tour because of injuries.

”It is only going to help us if everyone gets the exposure at this level,” Gilchrist said.

”When Hussey and Bracken and Shaun and Watson come back, we’ll continue to have a very strong squad. That depth was challenged today and we responded very well.”

Gilchrist urged Haddin, his 29-year-old understudy, to be patient as he waits for a regular berth. He has only played 22 ODIs since his debut in January 2001.

Gilchrist (35) himself had to wait until he was 28 to make his Test debut due to the presence of Ian Healy.

”I’m very pleased for Brad Haddin, he had a difficult role to fulfil,” he said.

”People may think he gets picked only as a reserve, back up ‘keeper. To me he is very much in on his own batting ability and he is very level-headed.

”I understand his position. I’m doing everything I can to help him try and understand that.”

The second game in the seven-match series is on Tuesday.

India are due to tour Australia from December to play four Tests and a one-day tri-series that also features Sri Lanka. – Reuters

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