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A voice of optimism has emerged from the Australian camp on an extraordinary day in world cricket. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has said he fully expects the touring Indians to play the third Test in Perth, and go on to complete the troubled series.

"There's nothing to suggest that it won't [go ahead]," Sutherland said. "Sharad Pawar, who is the president of cricket in India, has overnight made such commitments, so that's good enough for me. We're looking forward to Perth now."

Australia won the second Test in Sydney in remarkable circumstances, three late wickets from Michael Clarke rescuing the home side's bid for a world record seventeen consecutive Test victories.

The match was played against the background of questionable umpiring decisions, which the Indian team felt upset enough to launch a complaint against Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor, and a racism row which has seen Harbhajan Singh banned for three matches.

The Indian players have now refused to leave Sydney for Canberra, leaving the future of the tour in jeopardy, although Sutherland is adamant the series will be completed as planned in the wake of the second Test, in which Indian captain Anil Kumble questioned whether both teams had played the match in the right spirit, a clear barb at the hosts.

"It was a classic Test match, it went right down to the wire," Sutherland said. "Anil Kumble had a fantastic Test match as a captain and as a player, and no doubt he was disappointed in the end.

"To some extent it's not surprising in that emotionally charged environment that he would say what he has. It is only appropriate in that circumstance for Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble to get together and to talk about exactly what differences of opinion there may be in that regard."

"It has always been the Australian way to play the game of cricket hard but fair," he said. "Tough and uncompromising is certainly the way in which all Australian teams have played no matter who has been the captain and this team under Ricky Ponting is no exception."
 
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