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We will fight hard tomorrow: Dravid

Rahul Dravid cautioned the Australians against taking the 95-run target lightly, saying the Indians will come out and "fight hard" on day 5.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2003 01:20 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid on Monday cautioned the Australians against taking the 95-run victory target lightly, saying the Indians will come out and "fight hard" on the final day of the third cricket Test.

India, after conceding a 192-run first innings lead, were bowled out for 286 in their second essay on the fourth day on Monday, thus giving the hosts an easy chance to level the four-match Test series 1-1.

"It is not a very big target, but we will come out and fight hard tomorrow. It (fightback) is the goal for the series. Whenever we have been pushed down, we have bounced back. So we will carry it tomorrow as well," Dravid said making India's intentions clear that they would not surrender the 1-0 lead meekly on the final day tomorrow.

Dravid, who was unlucky to miss his century by just eight runs, said that another 80-odd runs lead on the difficult Melbourne Cricket Ground track could have put India in a commanding position.

"It was not the easiest of wickets to bat on but we did a lot of hard work and showed some character in scoring the runs. But probably we fell about 80 runs short. We would have liked to take a lead of 200 runs."

Dravid said what India lacked was a big partnership and good contribution from batsmen down the order.

"We needed a special partnership and nothing like Kolkata or Adelaide happened today. No one even scored a century in the second innings."

"The tailenders also failed to contribute anything substantial to the score. It is an area where we need to work on as the team needs more from them with the bat," Dravid said.

"The guys are working hard at the nets and getting enough time for batting practice. But unlike the lower order batsmen of other teams, they are not being able to contribute much."

The Indian vice-captain, whose 92 was the top score for the side, blamed his dismissal to a "bad shot".

"I did not lose concentration as I was prepared to bat for long hours. It was just a bad shot. I followed the ball to the wicketkeeper," said Dravid, whose patient knock came to an end when he nicked a Brett Lee delivery to wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.

He also praised the Australian bowlers for sticking to a good line and hoped the Indian bowlers would do the same while defending the target.

"Their bowlers did a good job and Nathan Bracken in particular was quite impressive. They all maintained a good line and length. When we bowl tomorrow we can try the same way."

India's bid to stop the Australians in achieving the target would largely depend on an injured Zaheer Khan, but Dravid said the left-arm seamer may not have a go at the world champions on Tuesday.

"(Physiotherapist) Andrew Leipus and Zaheer have to take the decision. But at the same time he is a young bowler and has a bright career, which is very important. He just can't risk his future." Dravid said.

First Published: Dec 29, 2003 14:49 IST