Australia v India, 4th Test, Sydney, 4th day January 5, 2004

Rahul Dravid - 'I'd back a team to score 300 on this wicket'



Rahul Dravid - No one in the dressing room believes we're on the verge of a great victory'
© AFP


Rahul Dravid made another telling contribution in India's second innings while Simon Katich held his nerve and cracked his maiden Test hundred. Both came out to answer a few questions after the fourth day's play.

On India being on the verge of a momentous victory: No one in the dressing room believes we're on the verge of a great victory. We know there's a lot of hard work ahead. But we've done that all series.

On missing out on a century: I didn't really think about that. The priority was always putting enough runs on the board to set them a target. And hopefully, it's given us the chance to win the game.

On the prospects for the final day: We'll need a big effort. It's a last day wicket, and it might play a few tricks. But it will still be hard work. The chances of them batting out the whole day can't be counted out. But it's not easy to score 400 plus, more so when there's a rough outside leg stump.

Whether there was any confusion about the declaration: Yes, there was a bit of confusion. There was also the question of the light, whether we would be allowed to bowl our fast bowlers when they came out to bat.

On Simon Katich: He played a superb innings, one of the best I've seen under pressure. He used his feet beautifully to the spinners.

On why India didn't declare earlier, setting Australia less than 400: I'd back a team to score 300 on this wicket, last day pitch or not. The pitch is playing a lot easier than it did for the Australia-England game last year, when there were big cracks on the last day.

On Anil Kumble: He bowled brilliantly. He's been a phenomenal performer, and it's been an honour to share the same dressing room. There's been a lot of criticism down the years, but Anil has just got about his job in that quiet way of his. Even when he has a bad game, you know he won't let you down through lack of effort or heart.

On enforcing the follow-on: If we had a lead of about 300, we might have done so. But anything less than 250 and we had decided that it would be better to bat again.

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Simon Katich on his innings: I'd rate it my best innings, in front of a big crowd. You don't get that for a Shield game. And I was very happy with the way I batted. We stuck at it well today. I thought Dizzy [Gillespie] batted beautifully.

On his preparation to play Indian spinners: I spoke to some of the guys about the way they bowl to you. I faced Kumble in county cricket a few seasons ago, and that gave me a look at the way he bowls. But I'd say the turning point was the second innings at Adelaide when I went in on the fourth evening. He was firing it into the rough, and I had to think of a plan to combat it.

On whether he thought he would get this chance: It does go through your mind whether the chance will come again. And when I got it, I wanted to make sure I made the most of it. Having been away from the side after the Ashes series of 2001 really hurt. I've developed as a player in the past years or so, and I'm just happy I took my chance.

Australia's chances tomorrow: It will be a fantastic atmosphere. We don't want to lose the Test, but it'll be a tough battle. It will take a phenomenal effort to win it. We'll see how we go in the first session, and take it from there.