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Aussies vow to keep playing hardball

Ponting & Co vow to stick with their traditional win-at-all-costs approach in the third Test despite stinging criticism.
Reuters | By Julian Linden, Perth
UPDATED ON JAN 14, 2008 06:32 PM IST

Australia's cricketers have vowed to stick with their traditional win-at-all-costs approach to this week's third test against India despite stinging criticism of their behaviour in last week's second test.

The Australians were widely condemned for their on-field conduct in Sydney -- with Indian skipper Anil Kumble accusing them of breaching the spirit of the game -- even though they did not break any rules of the game.

The Australian players have acknowledged they made some mistakes but say they have no intentions of abandoning their aggressive nature for a softer version.

"We want to keep playing the way we've played for what we think is in the right manner for quite a while, for a long, long while," vice-captain Adam Gilchrist told a news conference on Monday.

"We'll continue to strive to be the best at everything we do, that's what we strive for and that's why we've been able to dominate world cricket for so long, and that filters right through every step of Australian cricket.

"We'll continue to try to do that and we'll continue to try to get more things right than we get wrong. Occasionally there'll be the odd little thing that we don't get right and I don't think that necessarily needs to lead to the amount of interest or discussion we've seen."

Good spirits

Gilchrist said he was confident this week's match would be played in good spirits after both teams got caught up in the emotion of last week's match.

"We're all big boys and we can all get on with it," he said.

"They let off their steam after the game and we let off our steam and now we get on with the next game.

"I think everyone's sensible enough to have understood the issues."

Gilchrist said the controversy had at least ensured there would be plenty of interest in the remaining two matches after Australia retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the first two games.

Australia's win last week saw them equal the world record of 16 consecutive test victories and Gilchrist said they had their eyes set on breaking that mark.

"There will be a bit of fire in everyone's bellies at the start but I think both teams are professional enough that once the ball is bowled we'll just get underway and just get back into cricket mode," Gilchrist said.

"We're desperately keen to get this 17th win, we also want to win the series, we don't want a drawn series even though we've retained the trophy.

"It's great there's so much excitement about this test match. A lot of people would say it’s a dead rubber, but it's far from that."

Gary Kirsten, who has arrived in Australia this week to act as a consultant to the Indian team before he takes over as coach in March, said it was up to the players from both teams to make sure the game was played the right way.

"I think the important thing now is to try and put this behind us," Kirsten said.

"I've certainly seen that within the Indian team. They want to move on from the controversy of the last week. They want to go out and play cricket again."

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