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Fightback a must for Aussies
Australia under pressure in India as play washed out in Bangladesh v New Zealand.
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2008 11:32 GMT

Former skipper Steve Waugh drops in for a word in Brett Lee's ear [GALLO/GETTY]
Australia are looking for improved performances from their batting and bowling leaders in the third Test, needing to rebound quickly to avoid a first series defeat since 2005.

Trailing 1-0 in the four-match series after India cruised to a 320-run victory in last week's Test, the world's top-ranked team need to win at least one of the remaining two to keep alive an unbeaten run that dates back to the Ashes series loss to England more than three years ago.

Shortcomings

Australia's shortcomings were crudely exposed by the swing bowling of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma in Mohali, and the tourists will also have to contend with fit-again skipper Anil Kumble after he sat out that Test due to a shoulder injury.

Leg spinner Kumble, the third most successful bowler in Test history with 616 victims, has taken 55 wickets in six games at the Ferozshah Kotla ground, long regarded as India's favourite venue.

His impressive haul includes all 10 second innings wickets to bowl India to a series-levelling win over Pakistan in 1999, only the second time one player has bowled out the entire side in Test cricket.

The 38-year-old has taken at least seven wickets in each of his Delhi tests, bowling India to victory each time.

Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke said on Monday that his team were unconcerned by India's formidable record at a venue where they have won the last seven Test matches dating back to 1993.

Fantastic shape

Zaheer Khan rips through the Aussie order in Mohali [GALLO/GETTY]
"I believe all the guys in the squad are in fantastic shape," he said. "We are 1-0 down, we have to win, play good cricket.

"We've taken the positives out of the last two Tests. We're concentrating hard on this Test, not looking too far ahead."

Kumble's return for Wednesday's Test has thrown up a selection headache after his replacement Amit Mishra grabbed seven wickets to spin his side to victory on his debut in Mohali.

If India do retain Mishra in a rare five-man bowling attack, they may have to take a tough decision of dropping one of the experienced batsmen.

Their all-round showing in Mohali came after centuries by Saurav Ganguly and fellow left-hander Gautam Gambhir with stand-in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hammering fifties.

Australia, meanwhile, helped fuel speculation that they are a team in decline by their flat performance over all five days.

Former skipper Steve Waugh visited the nets on Monday and urged senior players to lead the fightback.

"They are all quality players," he said. "If they get a couple of things right and seniors like (skipper) Ricky Ponting, Lee, (Mike) Hussey and even (Matthew) Hayden take responsibility they should be fine."

Bangladesh washout

Rain has washed out play for the third consecutive day in the second and final Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Monday.

New Zealand lead the two-match series 1-0 after securing a three-wicket victory in Chittagong last week.

Source:
Agencies
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