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I intended to be positive: Sourav

When the going gets tough, Sourav Ganguly gets going. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 13, 2008 01:54 IST
Amol Karhadkar

When the going gets tough, Sourav Ganguly gets going.

The wicket has everything going against the batsmen. Paul Harris is probably deriving vicious turn and the pace trio is getting the ball to bounce even from fuller lengths.

At 123 for four, Yuvraj Singh joins Ganguly. India are in danger of conceding a sizeable lead, which would effectively mean the series is lost.

But Ganguly has other plans. The 35-year-old does exactly what his team, and a sizeable crowd at the Green Park Stadium expected him to do.

Ganguly's gallant knock of 87 helped India take a 23-run lead. Despite the odds stacked firmly against the batsmen, Ganguly virtually toyed with the bowlers. First, he nullified the pressure built by Paul Harris by stepping out and finding gaps on the off side. He then took on the pacemen, driving when the ball was pitched up and executing the pull shot when it was pitched short.

Thanks to Ganguly's knock and his useful stands of 65 and 60, India are in a position from where they can think positively of winning the Test and drawing the series. "I hope Ishant (Sharma) and Sreesanth do a bit of magic tomorrow morning," he said. "At the moment we are 23 ahead. And if we can get that to 50 and take couple of wickets before they get to 50 it will be good."

And where does he rate his own knock? "Considering the surface and context, this is definitely one of my top Test knocks," he said. "In terms of pressure, it was that 51 in Jo'burg as I was making my comeback. In terms of quality (of the innings) and quality of surface, this one."

Ganguly, who missed out on his 16th Test ton by 13 runs, said that he had come out with the intention of playing shots.
"I intended to be positive, play my game and play my shots because there was no point in surviving there and not adding runs to the scoreboard," he said. "The key for me and others like Yuvraj or V.V.S. and M.S. (Dhoni) was to move the scoreboard. That was the only way to take the pressure off. I decided that if the ball was there to hit, I would hit it."

But it wouldn't have been easy for Ganguly to come out in such a frame of mind, especially after watching the snorter that resulted in Dravid's dismissal.

"As I said, I played my game. If an odd ball bounces and goes over the top, that is not in my control," he said. "These are the pitches where how you think matters. You may get out to a normal delivery as well. You cannot worry about the ball, if it goes over the top it goes."