`Zaheer has the ability to provide breakthroughs`
Hyderabad: Zaheer Khan has played a big role in India`s success because of his ability to provide the team crucial breakthroughs even on the batsmen-friendly Indian conditions, his teammate Harbhajan Singh said on Saturday.
"Not many, including fast bowlers from abroad, have been successful on Indian conditions. It is not easy for a fast bowler to bowl on Indian conditions but Zaheer has been in tremendous form," Harbhajan said after he combined with the left-arm seamer to bowl New Zealand out for 350 on day two of the second Test.
"It’s great to see him bowling at his best and good to see him give us those crucial wickets," added Harbhajan.
Virender Sehwag led India’s strong reply with a blistering 96 and Harbhajan said the aim now would be to bat well on the third day and go past New Zealand’s total.
"The mood in the dressing room is to bat well tomorrow and take the lead. Sehwag set the tone for us though we are disappointed on him missing out on a century," the off spinner said.
Prior to this Test, Harbhajan was struggling a bit and luck too was not on his side it seemed. The bowler took just one wicket and conceded 112 runs in the first Test at Motera and remained wicket-less yesterday, but he bowled beautifully today to finish with figures of 4 for 76 in 36 overs.
"I am satisfied with my performance. I set the field according to the batsman and the situation," he said.
Asked about the wicket of Jesse Ryder, who threatened to take the game away from India with his positive batting in the morning session, Harbhajan said, "Every wicket is important; Zak (Zaheer) gave us two important breakthroughs. Ryder, too, was an important wicket today and it was good to get him out."
Pitch has been the bone of contention since the first Test, which was played on a lifeless Motera track, but Harbhajan was satisfied with what he saw of the track here.
"It’s a good wicket for Test cricket, has bounce for the batsmen and also has something in it for the bowlers,Harbhajan said.
While describing the pitch at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai as the perfect one Harbhajan said, "The wicket at CCI (Cricket Club of India) is probably the best I have ever played on and Test cricket needs such wicket for its survival.”
Turning wickets used to be the norm in this part of the world not many years ago but are rarely seen these days and asked about that, Harbhajan said, "You have to ask this question to the people who are involved in it. See I don’t remember when was the last time I bowled on a turner, Kanpur I think."
On the possibility and the excitement around Sachin Tendulkar getting to his 50th Test century in this Test, Harbhajan said, "It would be great to see Sachin get to his 50th Test hundred. It would be great for all of us and for Indian cricket."