VVS confident of victory

“We have a good chance of winning,” Laxman said on Monday evening. “It will be very important how we start tomorrow’s morning session. If we get two early wickets, then we are into their bowlers and can put pressure on them. The wicket is not doing much; there is bounce but there is not much turn. Our bowlers have done a tremendous job today. We can chase down anything in the region of 225, even if it means we have to chase at five an over, given our batting line-up and the condition of the wicket.”

Laxman paid glowing tributes to his good friend Harbhajan Singh, who brought up a second Test century in two innings. “Outstanding,” he gushed. “His hard work has been rewarded. He worked a lot in the nets before the Ahmedabad Test because he was disappointed that he didn’t contribute with the bat in the last two Test series. All our lower-order batsmen take a lot of pride in their batting and Gary (Kirsten) has instilled in them the purpose of having right practice. The rewards are there to be seen.”

Slightly disappointed at not getting a hundred in probably his only Test at the city of his birth, Laxman chose to look at the positives of his 74 of Sunday. “I am quite happy with the way I batted yesterday. Especially after losing Sachin, it was an important and crucial partnership with Rahul. I would have been happier if I had got a hundred, it would have been very satisfying scoring it in front of my coaches and my friends and well-wishers, but I am very happy with the way I batted. I thought it was a very positive knock.”

New Zealand, Laxman asserted, had not taken India by surprise. “They have always been a competitive side, whatever series I have played against them, and especially in India,” he reflected. “I remember the 2003 series, they put up a good fight. They are good players of spin bowling. The most important thing is that they are playing with patience and not throwing away their wickets. They are a very good side, we all knew that before the start of the series.”

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