Double centurian Laxman slams Australia's defensive approach

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New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI) Accusing the Australian team of adopting a defesive approach throughout the series, a satisfied VVS Laxman today said the already under pressure visitors will have their work cut out if the Indians get a couple of quick wickets in the morning session here tomorrow.

India rode on two double centuries from Laxman (200 not out) and Gautam Gambhir (206) to put up a strong first innings total of 613 for seven declared and with the Kotla pitch already showing encouraging signs for the spinners, the Australian batsmen will have to play exceptionally well to stay alive in the four-Test series.

''The morning session will be extremely important tomorrow. If we can get a couple of wickets in that session we can definitely win the match,'' Laxman told mediaperson after his 301-ball innings in which he hit 21 boundaries.

''I think they are already under a lot of pressure and chasing a humengous total in excess of 600 will not be an easy task especially on this wicket, '' he added.

The 33-year-old Hyderabadi who, along with Gambhir, tormented the Australian bowling over two days, further added that the visitors have been taking a very defensive approach throughout the series.

''Not only here, but they (Australia) have been defensive in the whole series so far,'' he stated.

Laxman, who joined Gambhir in the post lunch session yesterday after the fall of Sachin Tendulkar (68), put up a 278-run fourth wicket partnership with the left-hander and made sure that the home team does not lose the match from here on.

''I was trying to play the ball on its merits and was looking to play percentage shots,'' Laxman averred and noted that, ''we got 600 runs in little over five sessions.'' ''I am satisfied after a getting a huge score today as it had been quite long since I went past a score of 150 as I used to throw it away after getting to hundred,'' said Laxman whose last century against Australia came in 2003-04 at Sydney wher he scored a brilliant 178.

The middle-order batsman also dismissed suggestions that he was under any sort of pressure and said he had the support of the selectors and the captain which gave him alot of confidence.

Laxman was recently axed as the captain of the IPL's Deccan Chargers after a poor showing in the inaugural Twenty20 tournament earlier this year.

''Firstly, I think the doubt was only in media. Infact there were no such talks within the team and such talks actually brought us together in Bangalore (at the NCA) to perform the way we have in the series,'' he replied.

''I wanted to focus on the series after I was sacked as the captain of Deccan Chargers. It's not as if I wanted to prove a point, infact I had my eyes trained doing well in this series.'' Laxman agreed with Sachin's view that the senior players should be shown more respect as they have contributed a lot to the game.

''What hurts us the most is people talking on our behalf. Each of us have been around in the Indian cricket for long enough to understand our roles and we are here to serve Indian cricket. We don't ask people to sing praises but atleast don't degrade us,'' he said adding,''they know their responsibilities and let them decide when to retire.'' Laxman, who played an epic innings against Australia in 2001 at Eden Gardens, tumbled a number of records and will play his 100th Test in Nagpur. However, the classy batsman was humble enough to say that not records but playing for the country gives him more pleasure.

''Let alone 100s, playing for India is in itself a great honour especially because of m background,'' he said.

UNI RAR/CS AB AS2004

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