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27 Jan 2008 11:18
Australia and India are both hoping history will repeat itself and allow them to conjure a win out of nothing on the last day of the fourth and final Test.
The match was evenly poised at the end of the fourth day on Sunday with India leading by just eight runs with nine second innings wickets in hand.
The odds are heavily stacked in favour of a draw but both teams are clinging to the hope they can pull off another last-day miracle.
India beat Australia at Adelaide Oval on the last day in 2003 when the match seemed to be heading for a draw and Australia did the same to England in the Ashes last season.
“Fingers-crossed, I hope it goes exactly the same way last year did,” middle-order batsman Michael Clarke told a news conference.
“It’s going to be hard, I think we’re going to have to bowl really well but once the ball gets a bit softer it’ll be hard for India to score.
“We’ll get a bit of reverse swing with the quick bowlers and Brad Hogg, Andrew Symonds and hopefully myself can play a big part tomorrow [Monday] as well because there’s just enough there for the spinners.”
India fast bowler Irfan Pathan said the tourists were also hoping for a bit of luck on the last day to pinch an unlikely win.
“We have to bat well tomorrow and if we put some runs on the board, Australia has to bat last and so many matches have changed on the last day,” he said.
India are likely to turn to their twin-spin combination of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh if they build a big enough lead but Pathan said teenage paceman Ishant Sharma could be the surprise package because of the uneven bounce.
“[He’s played] wonderful, can’t say more than that. The way he has put in, he is just 19,” Pathan said.
“When I see him I look back to myself, we are very different bowlers, he is quicker than me, more tall, but I started my cricket career here in Australia.
“He is going to grow as a cricketer here and learn a lot of things here and especially the way he bowled in Sydney…and the way he bowled in Perth and here.”
Pathan added: “We have found a really, really good fast bowler for our team.”
Australia lead the four-match series 2-1 and only need a draw to wrap it up but Clark said they were still planning to go for the win.
“I certainly think Australia wants to win,” he said.
“I don’t know what India are thinking and I think at this stage none of the guys in my change room are really bothered.
We just need to focus on what we do best.”
Clarke said an Australian victory would be a fitting farewell for vice-captain Adam Gilchrist, who is playing in his 96th and final Test after announcing his retirement on Saturday.
“He’s been an amazing part of the Australian cricket team for a long time now and I think that would a perfect farewell for Gilly to go out with a win,” Clarke said.
“I think the respect that the public showed Gilly today when he came out to bat, the standing ovation, just shows around the world how much he is loved and what he’s done for the game.” - Reuters
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