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Pathan’s comeback a fairy tale

India have taken the first steps to record what could be a sweet but unexpected victory specially since they are two down in the series, writes Sunil Gavaskar.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2008 23:52 IST
Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar

India have taken the first steps to record what could be a sweet but unexpected victory specially since they are two down in the series.

There was talk before the game as to how Tait would blow away the Indians with his pace. There are four India batsmen who, between them, have got over 30,000 runs in Tests and surely they would have encountered some pace and bounce before.

It's an old myth of India being shaky against pace when recent history shows that India have a better record against pace than teams who rely on seamers in their domestic cricket.

Then there's Sehwag who forces the opposition captain to think on the field to set for him and in doing so, sometimes pays less attention to the other batsmen.

Sehwag missed out on a half century but he had done enough to give confidence to Pathan and the left-hander batted as if his life depended on it. He is the most willing learner in the game even though that proved to be his undoing not too long ago.

His comeback is a fairy tale but also an example of how hard work and a never-say-die attitude is a must at the international level. Pathan is also one of the sharpest thinkers in the game, who is constantly trying to improve and if his bowling has gone down a bit, his batting is improving with every innings.

The manner in which he got the openers give him more confidence as he searches for that late swing that used to cause havoc not so long ago.

It takes a special talent to bat with the tail, but Laxman has that special something and he along with Dhoni first steadied the tilting ship and gave India breathing space. The dashing wicketkeeper also batted with good sense till it deserted him as he essayed a lap shot that would have at best got him a single but instead caused his dismissal. But he had done a splendid recovery act with Laxman.

When the skipper fell to Symonds in the same over, it looked as if India would struggle to challenge Australia.

After his gutsy effort with the bat, R.P. will stake a claim to get promoted up Uttar Pradesh's batting order. It would have been so easy for him to go for a heave and throw away his wicket, but he hung in there.

He had to take a few blows but he added not just valuable runs but discomfort in the Australian ranks as the target reached the 400-mark. The ball R.P. got out to would have claimed a more accomplished batsman and that would encourage him.

With the openers back in the pavilion, India have their hopes high but they mustn't forget that Ponting is still there and that champion sides know how to get out of trouble. There should be no relaxation if India are aspiring for a historic victory.