Little Master determined to win series down under

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Melbourne, Dec 19 (UNI) Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar has declared that the visitors have the required ammunition to upstaged world champion Australia in their own backyard.

The little master is in his fourth visit Down Under and in all probablity, this will be the last visit. It, thus, becomes more important for him to leave the Australian shores on a winning note.

The last time India toured Down Under, four years ago, they ended with a drawn 1-1 series, but Tendulkar believes the arsenal is now there to secure a prized victory in the four-Test series.

''We have come here to win,'' he said. ''We have come here to play good cricket and get a result. Hopefully, we can do that,'' he was quoted as saying by the local media.

The last time Australia lost a series at home, dates back to West Indies 1992-93 tour. So the odds are heavily stacked against the visitors.

The 34-year-old batting maestro boast of an impressive average of 54.15 with four tons in 12 Tests, but the tourists have generally suffered because they have not had an attack that could repeatedly take 20 wickets in a Test match.

When asked if India, with Zaheer Khan and R P Singh leading the attack, has the ability to take 20 wickets needed to make Australia taste defeat in their own bakyard.

Tendulkar said, ''Yes, we do. We have done that in the past so I don't see any problem.'' Asked whether he felt the age of India's star batsmen would be a factor in the coming series, Tendulkar smiled and said, ''No, not really.'' India has gone Down Under with a 16-men squad which features two rookie pacemen, Pankaj Singh and Ishant Sharma.

India will have an advantage in the spin department with skipper Anil Kumble, the India's most successful bowler with his fastish leg-spin, and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh likely to play in most Tests.

Even though Tendulkar missed the third and final Test against Pakistan early this month because of a knee injury, but overall he is in good health this year.

He has played 33 one-day internationals, so far scoring 1425 runs -- second only to Matthew Hayden -- at 47.5 with a strike rate of 85.59.

In eight Tests, he has been India's third-leading run-scorer behind Sourav Ganguly and Wasim Jaffer with 699 runs at 58.25.

And it won't be long before he is Test cricket's greatest run-scorer, needing just 664 to equal Brian Lara's record of 11,953.

Australian spectators have always treated Tendulkar with respect and admiration, and the man himself yesterday labelled a trip here as ''special''.

"It is, the people enjoy the cricket here,'' he said. ''They understand cricket well and it's fun to play in front of them.'' UNI

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