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India hard to write off despite facing massive victory target in 1st test

India hard to write off despite facing massive victory target in 1st test

With two days to play and with a massive, unprecedented victory target in front of them, it would be easy to write off India's chances in the first test against Australia.
Somehow everyone seems reluctant to do that.
After making an enterprising 73 runs on a difficult Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket that helped Australia to a 498-run lead Friday, Michael Clarke refused to discount India's chances of making history.
India needs 493 runs to win after Australia captain Ricky Ponting declared at 351 for seven late on the third day. India was 6-0 after surviving eight overs before stumps.
"I'd like to say they have no chance, but I think they do," Clarke said.
The highest successful run-chase at the MCG was England's 332 against Australia in the 1928-29 Ashes series. Only three teams have ever completed a winning run-chase in excess of 400 runs in the fourth innings of a test _ the record being the West Indies' 418 against Australia at Antigua in 2003.
Rahul Dravid (3) and Wasim Jaffer (2) will resume India's second innings on day four on a pitch becoming increasingly difficult for batsmen.
"The reality is they need 493 runs and they have two days to get it, so they've got plenty of time," Clarke said. "But I also believe if we bowl as well as we can and hold our chances, I think there's a possibility the game could be over tomorrow as well."
India's strength is in its long batting lineup, featuring the likes of former captains Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly.
"You look at India's batting lineup, and it's very strong, and we know we have to be on our game come tomorrow to win this test match," Clarke said.
If any team is capable of defying the odds and upsetting Australia's plans, it is India.
The Indians will remind themselves of the "impossible" task they faced before winning the second test of Australia's 2000-2001 tour of India at Calcutta to level and turn around the series.
In that test, India was forced to follow-on after making just 171 runs in reply to Australia's first innings total of 445. India made a massive 657 in its second innings and dismissed Australia for 212 to produce one of the most unlikely wins in cricket.
Offspinner Harbhajan Singh took 13 wickets in that match and V.V.S. Laxman smashed 281 runs in the second innings to steer India to victory. Both will take to the MCG wicket before this game is decided.
"We are here to win the series. We are not looking to draw the game and we'll give it our best shot," said Singh, who led the Indian bowlers Friday with figures of 3-101. His dismissal of Australia captain Ponting was Singh's 250th test wicket.
"It's a stiff target, but I won't say it's not achievable," he said. "With the kind of batting lineup we have, if we play to our potential, anything can happen in test cricket."
This tour has been touted as the last to Australia for many Indian stars _ including Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman _ who dearly want to be part of India's first ever test series win in Australia.
"I'm sure the batsmen are looking forward to going out and show some character tomorrow," Singh said. If we do so it's going to help us in the whole series."


Updated : 2021-01-16 23:37 GMT+08:00