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India welcomes return to flatter wickets

Rahul Dravid admitted that the Indians were delighted to be returning to the more docile wickets of Australia's eastern seaboard.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2004 01:39 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Indian batsman Rahul Dravid admitted on Wednesday that his side was delighted to be returning to the more docile wickets of Australia's eastern seaboard after two difficult one-day cricket matches in Perth.

India's seemingly unbeatable batsman were suddenly exposed by the fierce bounce of the Western Australian wicket where they lost to Australia on Sunday and then lost six wickets in pursuit of Zimbabwe's paltry 135 on Tuesday.

On both occasions the Indian batting line-up looked more fragile than it has done all summer.

On Wednesday, India returned to Melbourne in preparation for its first match in the best of three finals series of the tri-nation one-day competition against Australia on Friday.

"It will be nice to get back to that part of the country, we have had a lot of success there," Dravid said prior to leaving for Melbourne.

Friday's first tri-series final at the MCG presents India's opportunity to erase some of the memories of the heavy losses to Australia in the World Cup final and November's tri-series final in Calcutta.

Australia has a 3-1 lead in the preliminary games going into the final but that form will count for little in Melbourne and Sydney.

"We are quite confident and we are looking forward to the big occasion we knew who we were going to be playing in the finals two or three games ago so it is something everyone is looking forward to," Dravid said.

Dravid was not concerned over the disappointing batting efforts in Perth, when the side was bowled out for 203 against Australia and then put on a lacklustre run-chase against Zimbabwe.

He said he and opener Sachin Tendulkar had failed in both matches in Perth, with the side's top score in the west Yuvraj Singh's 47 against Australia.

"I think our batsman have been in very good form right through the two and a half months of this tour and I don't think the batsman will have anything in the back of their minds," Dravid said.

"I think it is going to be a fresh game and a fresh start. There won't be any psychological winners or losers when we start."

Indian legspinner Anil Kumble is expected to be available for the finals after overcoming a shoulder injury and missing the past two matches.

First Published: Feb 04, 2004 16:40 IST