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Final Test: Lara targets Indian batting

Though West Indies captain Brian Lara considers Dravid a wall, he could see a lot of weaknesses in Indian batting.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2006 17:50 IST

West Indies captain Brian Lara believes there's a weakness to exploit in India's batting in the series-deciding fourth and final cricket Test at Sabina Park starting on Friday.

"(Rahul) Dravid is definitely a wall, as they call him in India," Lara said of the opposition skipper at West Indies' final training session. "But I see a lot of weaknesses in their batting."

Lara wouldn't elaborate on his statement, but the figures do not support him.

West Indies has bowled out India only twice in five chances; India totaled more than 500 in an inning in the first two tests; and five of the top six in the Indian order notched centuries in the three drawn matches.

Lara has wanted an extra fast bowler since the second test, but the selectors decided again to name an unchanged squad. However, his complaints about the benign nature of the pitches in the series to date might have finally found an ear, as he thinks Sabina could be more testing for the Indians against his fast men. "I spoke to Charlie (Joseph), the groundsman I know there, and he said that there's going to be pace and bounce," Lara said. "If he says that and he's been around much longer than me, you have to trust him.

"We hope that's the case."

India coach Greg Chappell praised his batsmen and backed Yuvraj Singh, the only one in the top six to miss out on three figures, to solidify a prolific lineup.

"He had nets this morning and looked in good touch," Chappell said. "I am sure he will bounce back in this game. "Our batsmen have done some solid work. (VVS) Laxman played an important knock in the previous test. We just need to keep doing it."

Chappell and Lara were both satisfied with their teams' progress in the series despite the 0-0 stalemate.

"We have played good solid cricket in this series and could have won at least one of the three previous tests," Chappell said. "There is no magic potion as a lot depends on conditions and pitches."

Lara said he was keen to finish on a high note. "The way things have turned out, there is a little dissatisfaction but I'm quite happy that the guys are performing more as a team," Lara said.

"I'd like to throw everything in for a win. The right tonic for our cricket right now would be a series win in Jamaica." India hasn't won a series in the Caribbean since 1970-71, and the opportunity is enticing, says Dravid.

"We have not been known to be good travelers but we have played some good cricket and we've got to continue that in the fourth test we well," he said.

"We would have liked to have a result in our favor going into the last test match but that's not to be. We can't worry about that. Some of those things have been in our control, some have not been in our control.

"So what we can now try and control is to put some good cricket in the fourth test match in Jamaica."


West Indies

Brian Lara (captain), Chris Gayle, Daren Ganga, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Runako Morton, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Corey Collymore, Ian Bradshaw, Pedro Collins.


Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Dinesh Karthik, VRV Singh, Ramesh Powar.