We've chance to avenge 2004 loss: Bhajji

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/b/bhajjisl.jpg' class='caption'> Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has upped the ante by asserting that his side are the favourites to win the four-match Test series against Australia.

Updated: September 13, 2008 16:36 IST
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Picking out the spin department as the weak link for the Australians, Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has upped the ante by asserting that his side are the favourites to win the four-match Test series starting in Bangalore on October 9.

With two rookie spinners in the touring Australian ranks and without the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist from the world-conquering squad of 2004, Harbhajan said India would look to amend their home 1-2 series loss that time.

"If you compare the team that Steve Waugh came with to now, it is obviously a lot different. It is obviously a big advantage to us that players like Gilchrist, McGrath and Warne are not around this time.

"The last time they were here they beat us, but I genuinely think that if we play to the level we're capable of, we can defeat them," the fiesty off-spinner told 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

"They are still the number one ranked team in the world, and it is always a challenge to play them. But we think we have a very good chance, playing in our home conditions and with the crowd supporting us," added Harbhajan, who took 21 wickets from three matches in 2004.

Harbhajan predicted a tough time for the rookie spinners Bryce McGain and Jason Krejza on slow sub-continental pitches and said Indian batsmen will have fun playing against them.

"We were always aware when we played Australia at home that Shane Warne was the main threat, and now that he is not there, it is obviously good for us.

"Warne and Stuart MacGill have both been great spin bowlers. There are no spinners in Australia of the quality of Warne and MacGill now, and I'm sure our batsmen, who are the best players of spin in the world, are going to have fun with this challenge."

The off-spinner had words of comfort for beleaguered all-rounder Andrew Symonds with whom he has had some ugly run-ins in the past one year.

"He (Symonds) is obviously a great player and there is no doubt about his ability to change a match. He has done a lot for Australian cricket. I hope he is well, and that he is getting better," Harbhajan said.

The Australian squad announced on Friday contained four uncapped bowlers. The pace department of Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson have no experience of playing Tests in India although they all have played limited-overs cricket.

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