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Friday, 22 February 2013

Clarke led the way for me: Henriques | Ind vs Aus 1st Test

He was born in Funchal, Portugal to a professional footballer named Alvaro Henriques. As a one-year-old, he moved to New South Wales, Australia with his family. 25 years later, he has become the 432nd man to represent Australia in Test cricket. Moises Henriques’ story seems like it has come straight out of a fairytale.
To add more romance to his tale, the young all-rounder marked his first day in Test cricket with an innings that got his team out of jail. On the way, he was part of a century-stand with his captain.
Henriques’ composed and mature 68 off 132 balls on Day 1 of the Chennai Test kept the Australian innings afloat against a rampaging R Ashwin. With Australia on 153/5, he allied with the ever-so-classy Michael Clarke (103*) to add 151 runs and hence enable the visitors to end day with a solid 316/7.
The 25-year-old all-rounder who was “speechless and lost for words” on being presented his baggy green cap, gushed with exuberance when asked to describe his first day in Test cricket.
Here are the excerpts from his chat with bcci.tv at the end of day:
Can you sum up the experience of playing Test cricket in words?
It was amazing! It was great to be out there with guys like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Michael Clarke around in the field. It was a day that I’ll never forget.
You obviously knew a couple of days beforehand that you’ll be playing. How different were those two days in terms of preparation and mindset?
It was just a matter of trying to stay as relaxed as possible. I knew that there’s not much I can change about my game with 48 hours left for the Test match. You just have to back your own skills and what you’re good at. It was about not trying to play too many shots and bowl too many balls in my head before I walked on to the ground.
You were one of the batsmen who handled the Indian spinners well today. You reckon playing a lot of your cricket at the SCG has made you more adept at playing spin?
I’m not sure what it is. Obviously, having spent a bit of time in India over the years helped. I was lucky to have a bat today on a Day 1 wicket. This track is only going to get harder to bat on against the spinners come Day 3 and 4.
You had one of world’s best players of spin batting with you. What was the one key to batting against spin you learnt from Clarke?
I don’t know the key yet, but Michael showed the way today with the way he batted at the other end. He never took a negative step, just kept taking it on, moving his feet forward and back. He led the way and I tried to follow.
The three specialist pacers will be expected to trouble the batsmen more with the uneven bounce and the movement off the surface. Does that put the onus of reverse swing mostly on you?
I don’t think there will be too much sideways movement off the seam on that wicket, but the inconsistent bounce will help. There was some reverse swing for the Indian bowlers and hopefully our quicks will also get the reverse swing happening. The key here will be to stay disciplined with our lengths to attack the Indian batting order in a different way.
There weren’t too many bouncers bowled by Indian pacers today. But given Australia’s pace-heavy attack, will we see more of those in India’s innings?
Yes. With the completely contrasting bowling attacks, we will have different game plans. I wouldn’t say the bouncer is the key here, but it’s going to be a very important ball against the Indian batsmen. The key will be to hit the top of the stumps as much as you can.


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