Tendulkar, Laxman Got India Into Game, Says Rahul Dravid Email this page
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Mumbai, Nov. 6 (NNN): Though it was the trio of spinners - Murali Karthik, Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble which ripped apart the strong Australian batting line up on Friday, it was the duo of Sachin Tendulkar and VVS that got India into the game, says stand in skipper Rahul Dravid.
Chasing 107 in the last innings, Australia fell short by 13 runs, the three spinners accounting for nine wickets at the deteriorating Wankhede Staduim in Mumbai.

Dravid said later that the "gumption" the side showed, not only in getting Australia out, but also fighting its way through in the morning session through Laxman and Tendulkar, made the victory very satisfying. "It was a satisfying victory. Having only 107 to defend against the best batting line-up in the world was a great effort and very satisfying, he added.

Commenting on the decision to send Laxman in at number three, he revealed it was taken while fielding on Thursday, the second day of the Test. "After I finished batting, and while fielding yesterday, I thought I'd try and send Laxman at number three. When the ball's hard it is the best time to attack and Laxman is a very positive player. Today he showed why quality is so important and why you should back quality. It was a great partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and VVS that got us into the game."

The stand in skipper said: "I just spoke about belief when we set out to defend the total. We knew we could put them under pressure if we got a couple of quick wickets. It was an amazing fight by the guys right from the morning; the kind of gumption they showed was great. You don't win many matches, leave alone Test matches against Australia, when you get bowled out for 104 in the first innings."

He praised the efforts of the spinners, especially of Murali Katik who reposed the faith Dravid had showed in him with a seven-wicket haul. "I just bowled him [Karthik] according to the wicket and according to which batsman was facing him. I thought if he bowled quickly and hit the deck hard he could be very effective.

"I thought about it. Irrespective of whether the left-hander or right-hander was batting I would've given him the ball after watching Michael Clarke bowl. I knew I had to bowl Karthik when the ball was hard. And you can imagine how good he was when Kumble didn't get a ball till 60-70 runs were scored."

Dravid said that Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh's return to their best is a positive the team can take from the series, which was lost to a "better prepared team".

"Zaheer, Karthik, Harbhajan and Anil all of them bowled really well. I was happy that we showed a bit of a fight right at the end of the series. Of course, the series was lost. Australia was the deserving winners of the series.

"I don't think there was much of a difference between the teams. In Nagpur we were outclassed, it was 50-50 in Chennai and we didn't play very well in Bangalore; we didn't play as well as we'd have liked to. But all credit to the Aussies," he said.

About his captaincy during the last two matches of the series, Dravid said whatever the situation, when you take over at the helm it is always an honour to lead the side.

He added: "It's not difficult but always a huge honour to captain the side, and I know I fall in line of great people who have done that before. It is never easy or difficult. Having a change in captaincy mid-series is not always great, but the way the guys rallied and the way they responded was tremendous. I never could've achieved what we did without their support."

Dravid reiterated what Jason Gillespie had said on Thursday -- that the Wankhede strip was an "interesting wicket". It proved more than that as 40 wickets fell in a little over two days.

"It was an interesting wicket to play a match on. It was the toughest wicket I have played a Test match on. It was great Test match, not an ideal Test match, I'd say. But it was a fantastic game of cricket," he added.

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