Former Australian paceman Jason Gillespie disclosed their team’s strategy during their Test tour of India in 2004. The Australian team, lead by Adam Gilchrist, scripted a 2-1 series victory over their sub-continent rivals. It was a triumph in India after 35 years, having come quite close in 2001.
Before 2004, it was Bill Lawry’s men in 1969 who won the series and every Australian side failed ever since. Jason Gillespie picked up 20 wickets in four Tests at an outstanding average of 16.15 while the visit to India as part of the national team was the last one for several Australian cricketers. Hence, it fitted for the Aussies to have conquered what Steve Waugh called it as the “final frontier.
The tourists won the first and third Test in Bangalore and Nagpur respectively. The first Test witnessed the Test debut of Michael Clarke, who bagged the man of the match award due to his innings of 151. The second Test resulted in a draw while the next one culminated in an Australian win with Damien Martyn’s hundred in the first innings. The hosts won the final match in Mumbai.
“A lot of Indian batsmen are very wristy and play really well through the leg side” : Jason Gillespie
Speaking of the bowlers’ strategy, Gillespie said that we sat down and discussed how we are going to make impact on their home soil. The 45-year old claimed that they put extra fielders on the leg side, considering the likes of VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, and Rahul Dravid are very skilful flicking the ball.
In addition to that, the Australian bowlers also kept attacking the stumps, hoping that the Indian batsmen might miss one or two and get dismissals in the form of LBW or bowled.
“A lot of Indian batsmen are very wristy and play really well through the leg side. So you think guys like Laxman, Dravid, Tendulkar and Sehwag, when the ball is on the stumps, they can hit the ball anywhere from straight past the bowler to square leg just by the use of their hands, very skillful players.
We felt that if you put an extra fielder or two on the leg side in catching position and another defensive position on the fence, you encourage the Indian batsmen to run more between the wickets rather than get those easy boundaries. So we wanted to test their fitness and we just felt that if we kept charging in and attacking the stumps, eventually the Indian batters might miss one or two of those and we can get an LBW or a bowled, and that’s what happened.” Jason Gillespie said as quoted by Hindustan Times.