Australian captain Ricky Ponting admitted his team had a vexing task ahead to devise a way of claiming 20 Indian wickets after the third Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla ended in a boring draw today.
A farewell bowling spell from retiring captain Anil Kumble added poignancy to the conclusion after sturdy Indian batting foiled slim Australian hopes of a last day victory, continuing a strong theme of home batting dominance.
The Indians declared after tea at 5-208, an overall lead of 244, with VVS Laxman (59no) and Sourav Ganguly (32no) occupying the crease after Sachin Tendulkar (47) and Gautam Gambhir (36) provided time-sapping resistance.
Australian openers Matthew Hayden (16no) and Simon Katich (14no) played out a token eight overs to reach 0-31, as Kumble fittingly took the new ball on a dusty subcontinental wicket for the last time after announcing his retirement earlier in the session.
In an unrepresentative finish to a career that gleaned 619 Test wickets, the third most of all time, Kumble’s final ball was a full toss struck to the straight fence by Hayden.
However the close brought a more fitting moment, as members of the Indian team – including captaincy successor Mahendra Dhoni – carried Kumble for part of his lap of honour.
The squads travel to Nagpur for the final Test beginning Thursday with India holding a 1-0 lead, meaning Australia must win to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“I think we’ve proven in this game that our batting’s certainly up to scratch in these conditions …. the challenge ahead is to take 20 wickets in Nagpur,” Ponting said.
“We’ve got to look long and hard at the guys on the sidelines, Doug Bollinger, Peter Siddle, and Jason Krejza and see if we think they can add anything to our bowling group.
“We probably need to look at Jason a little bit closer, he was named in the 12 here and believe me he came very close to playing in this Test match here, so with a bit more work this week he’d certainly come into consideration.”