Now, Harbhajan casts a spell with his willow

Now, Harbhajan casts  a spell with his willow

Two back-to-back hundreds have flowed from his bludgeoning bat leaving the visiting Kiwis dumfounded.

On Monday at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Uppal, India’s second most successful spinner went into the record books as the first man in Test history to score successive centuries batting at number eight.

Nicknamed the “Turbanator” after his incredible spells against Australia in 2001 which fetched him 32 wickets and India a famous 2-1 series triumph, Harbhajan’s bowling has suffered due to a combination of flat pitches, determined batsmen and his own diffidence when the going has got tough.

As a lower-order batsman, however, he is gradually translating his immense potential into crucial contributions. His maiden century in Ahmedabad in the first Test came with India gasping for survival, rocked as they were by Chris Martin’s brilliant burst in the second innings. If that was a match-saving effort, his second ton, a marvellous unbeaten 111, could well turn out to be a match-winning one.

When last man S Sreesanth joined Harbhajan on Sunday evening, the third day of the second Test, the latter’s score was 32, India’s lead a token 17. By the time Sreesanth was dismissed on Monday morning, those numbers had mushroomed astronomically as Harbhajan pulverised the Kiwis with a breathtaking display of stroke-making.

Taken apart by Virender Sehwag at the top of the innings, New Zealand were completely unprepared for the mayhem unleashed by Harbhajan at the tail end. Fours and sixes cascaded with tremendous regularity as the man from Jalandhar brought up a sensational hundred, and propelled India’s lead to 122.

New Zealand are well placed to escape with a draw, having finished the penultimate day on 237 for four, Harbhajan disappointing with the ball. India will gladly take his hundreds but at the moment, they will happily trade them for some magic with the ball.

Comments (+)