Saturday 26 January 2008 

Australia And India Clash Again Over Day Three Tactics

Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag has stoked the fire of an uneasy truce between his side and Australia, claiming that the Australians batting tactics on day three in Adelaide show they are 'scared' of losing.

He claimed they were batting defensively because of a fear of losing while Matthew Hayden, who scored a century, claimed India were bowling wides to restrict their scoring opportunities.

"I think they're not going to win so they are scared and playing very defensive," Sehwag told a news conference.

"They only scored 260 in a day. This is not like Australia. Last time we came here they scored 400 in a day. I think they're scared about defeat."

India need to win to level the series 2-2, while Australia only need a draw to win the series having already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

India scored 526 but failed to take advantage, allowing Australia to close the third day of the fourth and final Test on 322 for three.

"On a flat track they scored 260 in a day and lost three wickets so there must be something wrong in their batting lineup, or maybe something wrong in their thinking," a frustrated Sehwag said.

"We're working hard on our bowling and fielding but if someone's playing defensive we can't help it.

"We are just in a positive frame of mind and we want a result, it doesn't matter whether we win or lose."

Hayden countered, saying, "I think it is purely a response to the way India decided to bowl. I didn't feel particularly threatened by the way they bowled, with ring fielders and often 7-2 fields that is what they had planned today.

"They have very wide tactics and that was indicated by the fact they didn't want to take the new ball."

"They just wanted to stop us scoring, which is perfect for us really because all we wanted to do was bat for time in the game," he added.

"The way they bowled today was perfect for us not to lose the game, Australia is 2-1 up in the series and we definitely want that to stay."

Relations between the two sides have plummeted during this series after India complained about Australian tactics after the Sydney Test, with captain Anil Kumble claiming that only one side (India) were playing within the spirit of the game.

Harbhajan Singh will face an appeal hearing against a three-match ban handed to him for racially abusing Andrew Symonds in the same match.

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