Laxman ready to bat on last day

Australia’s bid for victory over India in the first Test at Mohali has been made more difficult by the news that home batsman VVS Laxman will be fit and ready to contribute on the final day.

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The Indians will resume at 4-55 chasing 216 for victory, with Sachin Tendulkar unbeaten on 10 while nightwatchman Zaheer Khan has five.

Laxman will bat either before or after Indian captain MS Dhoni, but after going through a net session on the fourth afternoon, will likely be far more capable than in the first innings, when he did not bat until No.10 and was clearly inconvenienced by back spasms.

Australian quick Ben Hilfenhaus (3-22) said his team were confident of victory, but acknowledged Tendulkar’s wicket remained the key.

“Definitely we’ve got our tails up,” he said.

“We’ve got plans to come out in the morning to bowl to each batter, and as long as we stick to that and keep putting pressure on, we can definitely sense victory there.

“(Tendulkar) is obviously a pretty big wicket for us, if we can get him early we’re definitely on the way I think, so we’ll work hard to apply pressure early, put him under the pump and hopefully watch him crumble.”

Indian pace bowler Ishant Sharma, who may yet have a vital role to play with the bat, said his team were a little jumpy after losing early wickets but would do their best.

“When four of your best batsmen get out, the mood is a little bit tense,” said Ishant.

“But everyone is in a good frame of mind and we believe that whoever is at the crease can do a job for the team.

“We’ll try our level best.”