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Draw would be a good result, say Aussies

Julian Linden | January 04, 2004 18:31 IST

Australia's batsmen say they will not curb their natural instincts despite the prospect of having to bat through two days to save the final Test against India.

Australia are facing their first series loss at home in a decade after slumping to 342 for six at close on the third day, still 164 runs short of avoiding the follow-on after India amassed 705-7 declared.

Opening batsman Justin Langer, who made 117 in Australia's first innings, said the task of trying to force a draw was as great a challenge as anything the world champions had faced in recent years.

But the lefthander said his compatriots would not be lured into abandoning their traditional aggressive batting tactics to save the match. "It's not in our nature to bat defensively," Langer told a news conference on Sunday.

"No matter what the situation is, whenever you are scoring runs you are putting some pressure back on the bowlers."

Langer said he was still hopeful his teammates could grant retiring captain Steve Waugh one of his wishes in his farewell match. "One of the things [Waugh] said when he took over the captaincy five years ago was that one of the areas he wanted us to improve on was to fight out hard draws," Langer said.

"If we could fight for a draw now, then it would be a good result in this game.

"And hopefully he can play one of his characteristic hero innings to put us in that position."

Langer, who has scored two hundreds in the series, paid tribute to India's batsmen, saying Australia could learn a lot from the way they had played.

"The reality of the series is that the Indian batting has been extraordinary, I can't ever remember being under this kind of pressure before in my career," he said.

"They're just very patient and very disciplined... it's almost as though they are in a meditative state, the way they apply themselves, and we can definitely learn from them."

Leg-spinner Anil Kumble, who captured four wickets to trigger Australia's batting slump, said India were in a great position to claim their first series win in Australia, but had to be careful not to get too far ahead of themselves.

"We still have to get four [first innings] wickets, then see how the game goes," he said.

"The wicket is definitely going to get harder [to bat on] as the game goes on, so we have a great chance to win the Test match and we'll give it our best shot.

"We just have to go about it the way we normally would and just try and take each wicket rather than think about the overall result."

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