THE Australian hype machine has gone deathly quiet for the moment after the hammering Sachin Tendulkar gave Shane Warne in the tour-opener in Bombay. And as the real battles loom—in Madras, Calcutta and Bangalore—Mohammed Azharuddin, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid must be hoping to swat a softened-up Shane for good.
"Australia, we have a problem," wrote Malcolm Knox in an SOS in The Melbourne Age, describing what he called "the first time an Australian attack featuring Warne has been put away with masterly precision." As Tendulkar totted up a maiden double-ton for the Ranji champ versus the world champ, he hit all panic stations.
"If Tendulkar can repeat in the Tests the type of innings he played, the Australians can say goodbye to their hopes of winning the series and turn their thoughts to saving it," Knox added. "The question of how to dismiss him must be shuffled backwards. The immediate concern is how to contain him."
In other words: instead of hollering "Bowling Shane!" from behind the stumps, Ian Healy could well end up shouting "Warne-ing Shane!" That's some comedown for the Aussies whose spin-doctors, led by chief surgeon Warne, 29, had touted the Shane v Sachin sideshow as a must-see. "From a personal point of view, I'm looking forward to doing battle with him," taunted Warne on arrival. Tendulkar didn't join the verbal joust. He went physical.
Beaten only twice by Warne's wrong 'uns, Sachin scored 43 off the 44 balls he faced of Warne in his unbeaten 204. And proved once again to his team-mates that Warne—a little myth, a lot of magic—is certainly not unplayable. Just what Sachin's guru Ravi Shastri had shown seven seasons ago in Warne's debut Test in Sydney, taking 60 runs off him en route to a 206. "The...