After his third successive Test century at the Sydney Cricket Ground, VVS Laxman on Thursday said he had a special relationship with the venue which helped him produce his best on the famous turf.
"Obviously, you feel good about a venue where you have done well. There is a familiarity with the conditions and my case is no different," Laxman said after his 109 in India's first innings made it three-in-a-row at the SCG.
Laxman's affair with the SCG has now lasted eight years after he scored 167 for a losing cause in 1999-2000, 178 in a drawn match in 2003-2004 and Thursday's knock which revived Indian batting on this tour.
He put on 175 runs for the second wicket with Rahul Dravid (53) after India lost Wasim Jaffer with only eight on the board. "Rahul showed a lot of character. He wasn't timing the ball but he stayed around. They bowled well to him, in good areas but he kept fighting.
"It wasn't as much important as what we were doing individually in the middle. It was more important though what we could raise together." However, the elegant Hyderabadi was disappointed that both of them got out in quick succession.
"I was disappointed that we got out so close to each other. I would have been happy to have retired not out today and padded up tomorrow morning."
Laxman gave credit to left-arm chinaman bowler Brad Hogg, who claimed his prized scalp. "I was deceived in the flight. It wasn't as if there was a lapse of concentration. It was a misjudgement on the line and length of the delivery." India planned to bat for a long time and post a big score, Laxman said.
"Our priority would be bat well tomorrow and take a big lead. We are not thinking of drawing a match, rather we are looking to win this Test."
The SCG wicket was better for batting than the one at Melbourne, Laxman felt. "The ball was not coming on in Melbourne. One couldn't play shots freely and had to play the waiting game. This (SCG) is a good batting wicket," he said.
Laxman said Indian batsmen were conscious not to get out for 30s and 40s as they had done so regularly in the first Test. He also viewed his position at number three as an advantage as he could set the pace for the innings.
"You are setting the pace at number three. At number six, you are playing in a situation the team is already in." The Indians were at the wrong end of several umpiring decisions in the match so far, but Laxman preferred to look at the positives.
"You want to do things which you can control. Certain things you can't so there is no point thinking about it." The fact that his spot in the team had frequently been under pressure did not bother him either.
"When you play for your country you don't think about adulation and all that. All my friends in India didn't get an opportunity to play for the country. "I just want to do my duty and fulfil my responsibility for the team and country," Laxman added.