Adelaide: Australia's opening batsman Matthew Hayden says he is fit to play India in the fourth Test, starting Thursday, after a hamstring strain forced him out of the Perth Test last week.
Melbourne's Herald Sun has reported that Hayden's streak of 86 consecutive Tests ended when he failed to pass a fitness Test before the third Test which India won by 72 runs.
An hour-long net session with national coach Tim Nielsen at Adelaide Oval Monday convinced Hayden he could regain his position from fill-in opener Chris Rogers for the last of the four-Test series.
"I am in. It is as simple as that. I have already done fitness tests this week," said Hayden, who has scored 307 runs at 76.75 this series.
"I feel comfortable where I am at with my hamstring and I have prepared like I would for any Test. "Right now I am ready to go. I am in pretty good shape. Even at the WACA on the last day I was up around 85 percent (fit)."
Hayden wants to shatter Indian veteran Sourav Ganguly's claim that the tourists have been the better side this summer. "I would say there is no other side in the world that comes close to us when we are playing our best," Hayden said.
"We have had a little glitch in the radar. I don't suspect that will be in our mindset in preparing for this Test. Ultimately, we are still 2-1 up in the series, so I am not sure we are bottom-dwellers just yet."
Hayden, 36, also took issue with Indian bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad, who said the tourists' attack was now the best in the business.
"We will see," Hayden said. "We have a very talented side. It is unbelievable. A week ago cricket was boring because Australia was so dominant. We have a very good bowling line-up going into these conditions. We saw that in Sydney."
Hayden tipped left-arm spinner Brad Hogg to return for the fourth Test. "I would have thought Hoggy will definitely come back into the line-up, but I am not a selector," Hayden said.
But Hayden said Shaun Tait, who was underdone and under-utilised in a four-man pace attack in Perth, would have much to offer in the Adelaide Test and beyond.
"I think the conditions will also suit Taity with a little bit of reverse swing and good pace in the wicket as well," he said. Hayden said there would be no repeat of Australia's brittle batting in Perth.
"Our challenge is to bat like we know we can, and that means doing nothing different, the same things we do day in, day out leading into every Test," he said.
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