Gautam Gambhir, the only Indian batsman to make a noteworthy contribution, conceded that his mates had frittered away their wickets on a surface that did nothing to assist the bowlers. “It is a fantastic wicket to bat on. There was hardly anything for the bowlers, nothing for the fast bowlers and nothing for the spinners,” said Gambhir.
“It is just that we didn’t bat well. We should have got a much higher score than what we did.”
That said, Gambhir felt that India, who only managed 249, were by no means out of the game. “This is part and parcel of Test cricket. Ups and downs happen. It is important to win sessions,” said Gambhir.
“I still feel we in the game if we can have one or two early wickets, we can be right back.”
For early wickets India will turn to their two fast bowlers, both of whom did a fine job with the bat as well. “At one stage, we were 198 for nine and from there having a 50-run last-wicket partnership, they [Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma] got us slightly back.
“Especially after picking up one wicket late in the day, they have got us back in the game.”
When asked what he was doing differently to score runs while the middle-order continues to struggle, Gambhir said, “It’s very difficult to answer this. They are quality players. It’s just that I am in good nick,” he said. “I am really feeling good about my batting. The important thing is to keep going out and doing it again and again. This is what Test cricket is all about.”
While Gambhir was beginning to establish himself, another man was just savouring his first taste of Test cricket.
Dammika Prasad, who picked up three wickets on debut, admitted that he was a nervous going into the game. “In the beginning I was a bit nervous as I am a newcomer. Also Virender Sehwag has been in good form as well,” said Prasad. “Although I was nervous, I managed to get Sehwag’s wicket and that gave me more confidence.
“It was a big moment for me to take Sachin Tendulkar's wicket because he is one of my favourite players.”