| Aussies have a big challenge ahead, says Hayden
Adelaide: Australia were surprised by India’s fighting performance in the first Test, opener Matthew Hayden said on Tuesday.
The Indians arrived in Adelaide buoyed by their competitive draw in the series opener at Brisbane’s Gabba — a notorious ground for touring teams.
Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly’s men not only survived on the greentop Gabba pitch, they flourished in conditions favoured by the Australians.
“They have always been a good fighting side,” Hayden said ahead of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.
“It probably did take us by surprise a little bit. Not so much in their fighting characteristics but just this was a (Gabba) wicket which was really going to suit Australia.
“Considering there was a lot of weather as well and it was an interrupted Test, I think they fought particularly well.”
Hayden rated India as a genuine threat to Australia’s mantle as the world’s best side.
“I have no doubt about that,” he said. “Not only are they proving to be good players within their own country, but they are now starting to play a little bit better outside India.
“It really is set up for a very exciting summer and I think Australia now has a really big challenge ahead.”
Hayden became the first cricketer to score 1,000 Test runs in three consecutive calendar years with a knock of 99 in the second innings of the series opener.
“It was obviously disappointing to get out on 99 but, more to the point, I was just disappointed to get out,” Hayden said.
“The way I was batting, I really felt like I could have batted for a long time.”