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Final day's first session critical: Dravid

January 05, 2004 17:08 IST

Australia and India are both eyeing a slice of history heading into the last day of the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

India require 10 wickets to claim their first ever series win in Australia while the hosts are chasing a world record second innings total of 443 for victory.

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While a draw still seems the most likely result, India vice-captain Rahul Dravid said the morning session would determine which side is most likely to win.

"I think the first session tomorrow is going to be very critical," Dravid told a news conference.

"It's going to be hard work, it's not going to be a case of turning up and doing it.

"The chances of them batting through the day are pretty good because they've got a lot of batsmen but we've got some good spinners and if we get a couple of early wickets then we can put them under a lot of pressure.

"Obviously the key to their batting is the top three. [Justin] Langer, [Matthew] Hayden and [Ricky] Ponting have scored most of their runs in the series so if we can get them early we can put pressure on them.

"But if they start batting well then we'll have to reassess the situation although I think it's fair to say it's not easy to score that many runs on the last day of a Test match."

Australian middle-order batsman Simon Katich said his team had not given up hope of an unlikely win even though history is against them. The current second innings run chase record is 418, set by West Indies against Australia in Antigua last year.

Australia closed on 10 without loss on Monday after India declared their second innings on 211-2.

"It would be a phenomenal effort but we'll just to have to see how we go in the first session," Katich said.

"We like to play positively and if we get through that then we'll just have to reassess it. If you don't believe you have no chance."


Dravid, unsurprisingly, said leg spinner Anil Kumble holds the key to India's chances of winning after he captured eight wickets in Australia's first innings, the best return at the SCG in 106 years.

"It's been an honour for me over the years to be in the same dressing room as Anil and watch him go about his work in his own quiet way," he said.

"He's faced a lot of criticism and people have questioned his ability but he just keeps performing and showing people that when it comes to experience and quality there's not many better than him.

"You know he's never going to let you down through lack of effort or heart. I'm just so happy for him in this series and I just hope he can lead us to a series win -- that would be brilliant."

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