‘India has done well’

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TIMELY KNOCK: Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq defied the Indian attack on Thursday.
TIMELY KNOCK: Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq defied the Indian attack on Thursday.

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding the frustration of allowing Pakistan’s ninth-wicket stand to battle for another day, former skipper Sourav Ganguly declared that India had done very well to restrict the opposition to 210 for eight wickets on a “typical” and “flat” Ferozeshah Kotla pitch on Thursday.

Speaking to the media at the behest of India’s latest skipper Anil Kumble, the country’s most successful Test captain maintained that batting was easy in the post-tea session and gave credit to Misbah-ul-Haq for “playing well under pressure” for his unfinished 71.

“We bowled in the right areas and overall, I think, bowled very well today,” said Ganguly. “The moisture in the pitch helped. This will not be the case in the next four days. The early morning fog helped the ball to swing. There was movement in the morning session and even in the first hour after lunch.”

On Pakistan recovering from 142 for eight to playing out the day, Ganguly said, “When you play cricket at this level, you expect a partnership. Unfortunately for us, it came after eight wickets. But these things happen. Yes. It will be a bad effort from us if we let them score 300. I can’t say what is a good score on this pitch. Well, we look to bat once and bat big.”

He hailed Munaf Patel by saying, “Coming back to Test cricket is never easy. A lot was said about his fitness and attitude, which I think, was harsh on him. But he has made a good comeback.”

On bowling 12 overs on this day, Ganguly said, “Bowling is one department where there is no pressure on me. I enjoyed it.”

Competition is good

He dismissed suggestions if he was under pressure from Yuvraj Singh who has been staking his claims for a place in the Test eleven.

“I feel good for him. It is always a good sign when someone is knocking on the doors all the time. It pushes you to perform. I and Rahul (Dravid) did the same when there were established players like Sanjay Manjrekar and Navjot Sidhu in the team. Yuvraj is a quality player, a match-winner.”

On his own batting form, Ganguly said, “The past 10-11 months have been the best that I could think of.”

Still in the ODI mode

Earlier, Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson said, “The team had not got out of the one-day mode.”

“The Indians bowled the right line and length and we played strokes which were not the best on a pitch that is up and down,” said the Aussie, who had earlier praised Ganguly for “bowling straight.”

On opting to bat in spite of going into the match with three pace bowlers and a spinner, Lawson said, “We did not want to bat last on this pitch. We know the history of this ground. It spins on the last couple of days of a Test.”

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