Indians adopted negative tactics: Hayden

Published: Saturday, January 26, 2008, 17:16 [IST]
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Ill feeling resurfaces at Adelaide Oval

Adelaide: On a day overshadowed by the sudden retirement of Adam Gilchrist, tensions between Australia and India surfaced again on the third day of the fourth and final Test here.

In reply to India's 526, the hosts were 322 for three at stumps, with a watchful captain Ricky Ponting on 79 and Michael Clarke on 37.

Australia trail by 204 runs and scored just 260 for the day, with Indian batsman Virender Sehwag claiming the home side were running scared and had adopted a safety first attitude.

Australian opener Matthew Hayden, who made his 30th Test century, fired back by saying the Indians deliberately bowled negatively to restrict scoring.

But Hayden said the tactic suited Australia perfectly, as they lead the series 2-1 and are content to settle for a draw.

"I think it is purely a response to the way India decided to bowl," Hayden said of the slow scoring.

"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 said.

"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."

Sehwag said Australia refused to play attacking shots because they were afraid of defeat.

"I think it's been a great day for India, the bowlers did a great job on a flat track," he said.

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

"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."

Press conferences later showed the ill feeling between the sides generated by the contentious second Test in Sydney still hadn't been fully resolved.

Spinner Harbhajan Singh, a key player in the Sydney drama, exchanged words with Ponting late in the day, after the pair collided as the Indian tried to stop a ball off his own bowling.

Hayden missed the third Test in Perth with a hamstring strain, but bounced back to make 103, his 159-run opening partnership with Phil Jaques (60) a record for Australia against India at the Adelaide Oval.

He was barely troubled by the bowlers for most of his innings and capitalised on the short boundaries on either side of the wicket.

However, just after reaching his century, he was bowled by a superb ball from exciting young paceman Ishant Sharma that jagged through his defences.

Hayden had faced 200 balls, hitting 10 fours and one massive six straight down the ground off Indian captain Kumble.

The 36-year-old has 410 runs in the series at 82.00.

India were hampered by the absence of opening bowler R.P. Singh, who left the field with a hamstring tear suffered late on the second day and is likely to be sidelined for two weeks.

Harbhajan, recalled to renew his duel with Ponting, struggled to make an impact and failed to take a wicket in 28 overs, conceding 70 runs.

The teenage Sharma was again impressive and had 1-47 from 22 overs.

He was unlucky not to have claimed the wicket of Ponting, who had gone perilously close to playing the ball onto his stumps on eight.

The Indians were certain they had Clarke on 32, caught by Rahul Dravid at slip off Sehwag, but replays showed umpire Billy Bowden was correct to turn the appeal down, the ball coming off the batsman's forearm as he attempted to cut.

India's first innings total of 526 was based around a 153 by batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and an 87 from Kumble.

Australia have already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

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