Ahmedabad: Indian bowlers will have the luxury to defend a huge first innings total but wicket won’t be easy to come by since the Motera strip was not offering much help, said star of day Harbhajan Singh, who shone with the bat with a sparkling half-century.
The Indian spinner played a crucial role to lift India to 487 runs in the first Test against New Zealand with his career-best knock of 69 but is naturally unhappy over losing an opportunity to score his maiden Test century.
“I am disappointed (in not getting a hundred). Some of my senior mates also told me this was a good chance I have missed. But I am happy to have contributed with the bat and made some runs after being out cheaply in my last two innings (against Australia),” said the off spinner.
Asked about his aggressive approach while batting, he said that was the only way he knows to play.
“I can’t play any other way. I go for my shots. I tried to play quietly for the first seven or eight runs and then played my shots. Whenever I have got opportunity with the bat or ball I have tried to give it my best shot,” he said after striking three sixes and five fours in his 97-ball innings.
The off-spinner said the Indian bowlers must stick to plans to get wickets as the track was not much of a help.
“We have the runs on the board now but we need to work very hard and bowl to a plan. Their two best batsmen are at the crease with Jesse Ryder and Daniel Vettori to follow and the wicket is very slow and not offering much help as the ball is not turning much,” he said.
He was referring to Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor who will resume Kiwi innings on Saturday. The Black Caps are 69 for two, still trailing by 418 runs.
The Indian tweaker said the key was to get both of them early on Saturday.
“Perhaps if we can dismiss them within the first hour, we can get at the other batsmen. But they are a capable side,” he said.
Harbhajan also praised New Zealand bowlers, especially Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori, for the way they restricted the Indians to within the 500 mark.
“At one stage they had only three (frontline) bowlers. Daniel bowled very well, varying his pace and flight. Full credit to their bowlers,” he said.
Vettori bowled a marathon 54.5 overs and took 4 for 118 and off spinner Jeetan Patel complimented him with figures of 3 for 135 and his victims included stalwarts Sachin Tendulkar and V V S Laxman.