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We're still number one in cricket, say Aussies

Reuters
Jan 21, 2008 at 05:53pm IST

Adelaide: Australia's cricketers have dismissed suggestions they are in danger of losing their place as the world's best team after their shock loss to India last week.

Australia's critics have claimed the 72-run defeat in Perth was the first real sign their golden era was drawing to a close as the rest of the world catches up.

India fully deserved their win in the third test after outplaying the Australians from the outset to seal victory with a day to spare and are confident of winning the last test in Adelaide to square the series.

END OF AN ERA? Critics say the defeat in Perth was sign that Aussies' golden era was ending.

The Indian captain Anil Kumble said his team no longer had anything to fear from the Australians and believed they now had the best batting line-up in the game.

India's bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad echoed the skipper's comments when he said the tourists also had the best bowling attack in world cricket.

India's claims drew a prickly response from the Australians, who remain confident they will win the final match to clinch the four-match series 3-1.

"There's no other side in the world comes close to us when we're playing at our best," opening batsmen Matthew Hayden told Australian television after arriving in Adelaide on Monday.

FIRST DUCK

"We've had a bit of a glitch on the radar this week but I don't suspect for one minute that that's going to be in our mindset coming into and preparing for this test match."

Australian middle-order batsmen Mike Hussey, who experienced his first test loss in Perth as well as making his first duck, also bristled at suggestions his team were in decline.

The Australians had won a record-equalling 16 tests in a row before last week's loss and Hussey said it was inevitable they would slip up at some stage.

"That's cricket, you can't win every game you play," Hussey said.

"It is disappointing to lose, but we've just got to move forward and the good thing about our team is we're a very positive group of guys.

"It will probably make us work a little bit harder, prepare better and be even more determined for this test match."

Hussey said he expected India's seam bowlers would struggle to swing the ball as much in Adelaide as they did in Perth while Australia will be boosted by the return of Hayden, who missed the Perth game because of a hamstring injury.

Hayden declared himself fit after completing a lengthy batting session and said he was determined to restore Australia's reputation as the dominant force in world cricket.

"It's unbelievable really because a week and a half ago cricket was boring Australia was so dominant, but I guess that's the melodramatic nature of sport," he said.

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