Harbhajan Singh feels the match is on an even keel even though India lost Virender Sehwag towards the end of play on Saturday. “It would have been nice to have Sehwag unbeaten at the end of the day, but we still have formidable batsmen to come. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina and M.S. Dhoni have enough experience to get us past the Australian total,” he said.
The off-spinner said it’s a difficult pitch to bowl on and every bowler had to work hard for wickets. The situation, he said, got worse after Ishant had to be taken off the attack following an injury.
“We had just three frontline bowlers to share the workload. I myself bowled 50 overs. The wicket has lost pace and the ball is not carrying to the keeper. Spinners are also not getting any assistance, and I had to rely on variations and deceiving batsmen in the air,” said Harbhajan, who sent down 49 overs for his three wickets.
The off spinner, however, was effusive in his praise for Zaheer Khan, who picked up his 10th five-wicket haul in Tests. “He’s a very smart bowler; he knows how to use old ball to generate reverse swing. I put him in the league of Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath.”
The offie also defended the delay in taking the new ball as old one was working fine for them. “Zaheer was getting the ball to reverse, and I was getting bounce. The new ball can be dicey sometimes as you can go for runs. So we decided to continue with the old ball as long as we can,” he said.
As for India’s plan hereafter, the spinner said they would look to put up good total on the board and then test the Aussie on the fourth and fifth day wicket. He also played down the spat between Zaheer and Ricky Ponting, saying it was a case of misunderstanding.
“I wasn’t there when it happened. A team-mate revealed that Zaheer told Laxman ‘you are Usain Bolt’, but Ponting thought the gibe was directed at him and he came back and demanded what exactly was Zaheer saying,” said Harbhajan.