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Australia will go for a win: Clarke

November 01, 2008 19:15 IST

What a difference a day can make?

The Australians, trying desperately to stave off the follow-on a day before, are now contemplating going for the kill in the third Test on Sunday. All thanks to a day's effort. And a little bit of fortune.

The visitors, 275 runs behind India's mammoth 613 at the start of the fourth day, batted doggedly to ensure the hosts got only a 36-run advantage in the first essay. And to compound the Indian camp's worries, took two wickets before close of play on Saturday.

No wonder they are boasting about their prospects now.

"Australia will be the only team to try and go for a win tomorrow," said Michael Clarke, who top-scored with a patient 112.

"We are very positive about it."

If that was not enough, he fired yet another salvo. Having heard many Indian cricketers saying the visitors were too defensive, it was the Australians' turn to return the compliment.

"The Indians were very defensive," said Clarke, before going on to justify his statement. "The fact that they sent Ishant Sharma as night-watchman explains how defensive they were as a team."

The 27-year-old viewed that the Indian plan had fallen flat and the advantage now lay with his team.

"India would be very disappointed with their day today," he asserted. "They would have definitely wanted to bowl us out much earlier than they eventually did."

So what was it that worked for Australia on Saturday?

"We knew we had to bat well. Our goal for today was that we had to continue batting at least till tea," he said.

"Also, after the second Test in Mohali, we had a chat about the senior players standing up and performing in this match.

"And that is precisely what we have done," he added, referring to the fact that all the top five Aussie batsmen made significant contributions to the total.

Clarke admitted that his eighth Test hundred was a fortunate one -- he was let off on as many as three occasions.

"It was certainly a very lucky innings, especially when I was in the nineties.  But, personally, it was a very rewarding," he admitted.

With their resilience having nullified India's early advantage, and then the early breakthroughs in the second innings, it wasn't surprising to see Clarke make a few over-ambitious statement, some being rather preposterous.

"I don't think they have to declare. We will bowl them out," he said, when asked about what score he thought India would declare at. But with the entire day going in their favour Clarke can well be forgiven for getting too carried away. 

On second thoughts, he is partly right. Australia may not win this Test. But India have certainly lost it.

Our Correspondent