My big knock around the corner: Hayden

Australia opener Matthew Hayden has vowed to bounce back when the third Test gets underway in Delhi from October 29.

updated: October 26, 2008 11:01 IST
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New Delhi:

Matthew Hayden has not been the menace with the bat he generally is but the blank-firing Australian on Sunday vowed to return as India's bogeyman in the third Test starting on Wednesday.

Since returning from an injury layoff, Hayden has been a pale shadow of himself, scoring 0 and 13 in the first Test and 0 and 29 in the second.

Hayden admitted he could not live upto the expectations so far but promised to bounce back in the third Test.

"The expectation is very high in the Australian cricket team and expectation is high in international athletes as a whole. With two games to go, I expect to play very well in those two games," Hayden said after a long practice session on Sunday.

"I've put in a lot of work in a month in India but it has not quite paid off. But I'm very confident with the way I'm playing. It's little bit of rub of the green I guess and a big score is round the corner," asserted the opener.

"For me it's a good opportunity really to spend some time in the middle. These next 13 days of cricket will shape the way we want to play the game. Today's extended net was to replicate what I want to do in the next 13 days," Hayden said when asked about the prolonged nets.

Hayden has particularly struggled against Zaheer Khan in the series, falling three times to the left-arm seamer in four innings.

Itching to settle score with the Indian seamer, Hayden said, "I think when a bowler is successful against you, he knows he has got certain strategies that's working for him. But of course I believe in my heart that I have been extremely successful against Zaheer and I believe he knows it well. So it's a good fight."

Zaheer was ecstatic after Hayden fell to Harbhajan Singh in the Mohali Test and the Indian's outburst earned him an 80 per cent match fee from Match Referee Chris Broad.

Asked about the incident, Hayden said, "After I got dismissed, Zaheer was obviously very excited and I think Chris Broad dealt with it in a way that was appropriate."

The left-hander admitted that trailing a series 0-1 was an unfamiliar situation for his team but oozed confidence of drawing parity here.

"We really tried to concentrate on various disciplines within our game. We are extremely optimistic as well of the competition ahead," Hayden said.

"We are one-nil down in the series because India played very well in the last game. Australia played very well in the first game but didn't get the result and so we are down in the series," he explained.

"India played very well in that game but Australia is going to play very well in this game. We are focussing on doing all the elements of the game very well -- batting, bowling and fielding.

"I think just having those disciplines in our mind is a great vital to us going into the Test match, understanding we have got a fighting culture," he said.

"We are really concentrating on this game, it's the big game in the series where Australia can fight back," he said, underlining how important the match is from the visitors' point of view.

Hayden agreed that reverse swing, and not spin, posed the most serious threat to his teammates in this series but asserted Australia has put in place a potent strategy to negate the threat.

"Perhaps whenever we come to the shore of India, the talk is always about spin bowling, it has been so over a long period of time. But reverse swing is something Australian cricket has come across in the past.

"...we know it's a weapon in modern game with wicket playing good and hard. When I first started playing cricket there used to be greener conditions which allowed conventional swing," he said.

"It's part of the modern day game to combat that and I think our strategy is good enough to combat India's reverse swing," said the opener.

Asked about Stuart Clark's fitness after the pacer missed the Mohali Test with an elbow injury, Hayden said, "Stuart had a good bowl today and I think it's a matter of time and we'll assess him tomorrow."