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Aussie skipper predicts tougher days for India - by Kuldip Lal


BOMBAY, March 2 (AFP) - Australia's cricket captain Steve Waugh on Friday warned India not to expect any mercy from his world-beating side after the 10-wicket demolition in the first Test.

Waugh, hoping to win Australia's first series on Indian soil in 31 years, led his team to an emphatic three-day win at the Wankhede stadium on Thursday.

He said Australia's 16th consecutive Test victory had demoralised the hosts to such an extent that they will struggle to pick themselves up for the remaining two Tests at Calcutta and Madras.

"Psychologically, this was a very significant win," Waugh said.

"They appeared pretty down taking the field in our second innings. We had only 47 to get, but when you get them in seven overs, you know you have scored a point.

"In that respect, I think we've made some inroads for the next Test match," Waugh said.

India will do well to take the Australian captain seriously.

Before the tour began, Waugh had outlined his strategy to strike at the Indians early -- win the toss, field first and shatter their confidence in the first session.

He did just that in Bombay. Waugh put India in on an unusually green wicket and reduced them to 31-3 within the first hour and 55-4 soon after.

A shell-shocked India managed just 176 in the first innings and 219 in the second, defeated as much by the pace of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie as the spin of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh.

As the tourists ran a lap of honour to a standing ovation from some 45,000 home fans, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was jeered for failing to stop the embarrassing defeat.

Waugh conceded the freak dismissal of master batsman Sachin Tendulkar in the second innings was "a major turning point."

Tendulkar, who made 65, pulled Mark Waugh hard, but the ball deflected off short-leg fielder Justin Langer's shoulder to mid-wicket where Ricky Ponting sprinted to his right and picked a blinder just off the ground.

"That catch changed things a bit," Waugh said.

"But it shows that if you hang in there long enough things will turn around.

"It was a pretty lucky catch but at the same time Ponting still had to take that catch and make the most of the opportunity."

Waugh said the key to success in India was to remain cool and composed under trying circumstances.

"It was pretty hard out there. There was a lot of noise when the Indians were batting, but we kept our cool in tough situations.

"We've learned our lesson from previous tours where we tended to rush a bit when the crowd cheered a stroke by their batsmen.

"This time we pulled back a bit, relaxed, took a deep breath and focussed on the next ball."

Waugh also paid rich tributes to Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, whose scintillating stand of 197 off 195 balls enabled Australia to recover from 99-5 and post a match-winning total.

"The way Gilchrist and Hayden played, there were glimpses of how Sir Donald Bradman would have played," Waugh said. "They were two of the great Test match hundreds."

Waugh said the win was the best respect the team could pay Bradman, the batting legend who died at the age of 92 on Monday, a day before the Test began.

The second Test starts at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta on March 11.