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Dravid upbeat about India's chances

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 17:06 IST
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Indian captain Rahul Dravid was upbeat about his side's chances of winning a "battle of attrition" against South Africa on the last day of the series-deciding third cricket Test against South Africa in Cape Town on Friday.

Dravid was also all praise for the wicket, in sharp contrast to his rival Graeme Smith who dismissed the track as "sub-continental" and one that made it appear as if they were playing at the Eden Gardens.

The Indian captain believed his team had its "nose ahead" in the game while underlining the importance of batting well in the first session on Friday.

"We have our nose ahead in this game and are very happy to be bowling fourth on this surface. We have Anil Kumble up in our sleeve and it was heartening to see how Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag put pressure on their batsmen," Dravid said after the third day's play on Thursday.

On the track, he said, he did not expect such a track to be dished out for the crucial tie.

"You don't expect surfaces like this in South Africa but it's also a tribute to our good seam attack. Teams earlier never used to think before preparing grassy tracks for us but now they are forced into making conditions which can suit us."

Dravid felt it could be a battle of attrition tomorrow and he would like to have a total where South Africa would be left with no option but to defend for safety.

"It will be a battle of attrition and we have seen the game can move quickly. It's a similar to what happens in India where the first three days the game can meander along and then it starts crumbling. There are 180 overs left in this game and things can happen quickly."

"We would like to see how the first session and half goes and if we are well placed we would push on in the afternoon. We would look to play by ear since scoring quickly on that wicket is not easy."

"We are also aware that they would look to dry up runs as much as possible. The spinners would bowl in the rough, there would be defensive line and we expect that sort of attack from them."

Dravid refused to comment if he would think about restoring Sehwag back at the top of the order in order to quicken the scoring on the fourth day.

Smith could not hide his disappointment at the pitch. "It's a sub-continental kind of track. We shifted into sub-continental frame of mind, it could be a game in Eden Gardens," he said.

"This wicket has deteriorated a lot more than we had expected. We though it would be difficult for left-handers but it is also very difficult for right-handers."

"The key for them is the reverse swing they obtained and with the ball getting soft, it was very difficult to score out there. One or two batsmen were out to soft dismissals and we had a couple of half centuries but they couldn't really build on the base."

"We would have to come up with a plan and our spinners and part-timers would have to bowl really well. But I would admit they are slightly ahead than us in this game," the South African skipper said.

"I have never seen a wicket like this in South Africa and I hope I never see such a strip again."

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