It was not Wednesday's century-maker Rahul Dravid but first-day hero Gautam Gambhir who made an appearance before media after the day's play.

The left-hander, who notched up 167 on day one, said the encouragement of his teammates, captain and coach played a large role in his run of success.

"Playing for India has always been a dream. I believe in giving a hundred per cent for the team. I do not believe in comparisons," the opener added.

Gambhir felt India had a distinct advantage in the second Test. "The pitch is offering turn now. It was a flat track on the first day and it was a good toss to win. The Sri Lankans would have wanted to bat too since they were playing three spinners. As we saw on the second day, run-making is not easy now and the spinners are getting purchase."

Despite a collapse of sorts on the second day, Gambhir felt a total of 642 was still an imposing one. "To score around 450 to avoid the follow on will be extremely hard for the Sri Lankans on this pitch. We have the chance to apply pressure."

Gambhir said the Indians were keen to secure a 1-0 lead in the series. "We are the favourites to win this game. When we first had a look at this wicket, we knew that it would encourage the spinners from the third day or so. We knew this pitch had something in it. It is now up to the bowlers to bowl in the right areas."

The southpaw was appreciative of the hundred from Rahul Dravid. "He is one of the greats of the game. He went through a lean patch and I always knew that he would come out of it. He turned the corner in the Mohali Test against England. Dravid batted extremely well here. I am sure he will continue to get runs for us."

On Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Rangana Herath's five-wicket haul, he said, "You got to give credit to him. The conditions were flat on day one and he kept his faith. He bowled extremely well today, got turn."

Looking back at the Ahmedabad Test, he said, "The wicket was so placid there. My heart goes out for Harbhajan and Mishra. They had little chance on that pitch. Even the great Muralitharan struggled on that wicket. I believe a pitch should encourage both the batsman and the bowler."

Gambhir was pleased by the huge turnout for the second Test. "Test cricket will never die. It tests your patience and skill. It is the ultimate test," he said.


India tightens grip on Kanpur TestNovember 25, 2009

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