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Kotla specialist Kumble to play in third Test: Dravid

New Delhi, Oct 26 (UNI) Middle-order batsman Rahul Dravid today gave positive signals that the Indian captain Anil Kumble, who missed the third Test due to a shoulder injury, will make it to the playing XI against Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on October 29.

After India's practise session here, Dravid said, ''Anil had a long batting and bowling sessions today and he looks to be completely fit. We are very much hopeful that he will play in the third Test at his favourite ground.'' At the Feroz Shah Kotla, Kumble has picked up as many as 55 wickets which also include his best figures of a rare 10 for 74 against Pakistan.

However, Kumble's absence did not prove fatal for India as his replacement Amit Mishra justified his selection claiming five wickets in the first innings at Mohali.

But today during the practice session, Kumble did not look in any kind of discomfort even though off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was seen limping around after bowling just two overs.

Zaheer Khan also preferred to opt out of the practice today.

But Dravid said the two bowlers were out of any kind of fitness concern.

''Zaheer is a part of our winning combination and as far as Harbhajan is concerned, he had some pain in his toe. After the discussion with team physio he decided to opt out of today's practice.

''But, both of them will be back at the nets tomorrow to bowl long spells,'' he added.

Dravid, who himself hasn't had a great series so far, admitted that the kind of record that India has at Kotla, his team would like prefer to seal the series in the third Test only.

He, however, said the Australian team can never be taken lightly and added that the Indians was very much aware of it.

''They can come back strongly as you can never underestimate a team like Australia. They must be hurt by the defeat at Mohali and they would surely try to make a come back in the series.

''But we are more focussed on our game and we have prepared a strategy for this game. We are aware of what we need to do and should be ready for the Test on 29th,'' he conceded.

On Wenesday, India will take the field with atleast three local boys - Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma - and Dravid said all three of them have been in good form which would be an advantage to the home team.

Indian players after the Mohali Test had a good break for a couple of days and then they regrouped here to get themselves in action for the third Test.

On his personal batting, Dravid said, ''It is disappointing to not to be among the runs in any series. I think I was batting well in the first Test at Bangalore where I scored a half century but unfortunately could convert it to a big score.

''In the second Test as well I thought I was striking the ball nicely. So it isn't that I am out of touch and such things do happen at times.

''But one should continue with his routine game which is to play well irrespective of what happened in the last innings that you played,'' he said.


Story first published: Sunday, October 26, 2008, 20:04 [IST]
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