SPORT

Australia is marginally ahead: Dravid

USEFUL INNINGS: Harbhajan Singh played a vital knock and saved India’s blushes on the third day of the Bangalore Test on Saturday.

USEFUL INNINGS: Harbhajan Singh played a vital knock and saved India’s blushes on the third day of the Bangalore Test on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K.R. Deepak

K.C. Vijaya Kumar

Feels all three results are possible since it is a low and slow wicket

Bangalore: Rahul Dravid measures his words with the same rules that he applies to his batting — serious and straight.

But when asked about Harbhajan Singh’s 54 and his 80-run eighth-wicket partnership with Zaheer Khan, Dravid cracked into a smile and said: “It is fun to watch Bhajji bat. He always keeps you on your toes and his partnership with Zaheer was crucial. They batted sensibly.”

However, despite being enthused by the tail that wagged, Dravid admitted at Saturday’s press conference that Australia was marginally ahead.

“All three results are possible. Australia is a bit ahead but if we can score some runs and if our fast bowlers bowl tight lines and our spinners get turn and bounce, then we have a fight back on our hands,” Dravid said.

A challenge

He said that batting on this pitch was a challenge.

“It is a low and slow wicket and you never feel ‘in.’ There were a few cracks and some balls took off and some kept low. We could have batted better. I am happy with my start (51) but could have got more. I am yet to score (a Test hundred) here but then I have done well here in the Ranji Trophy. That’s the way life goes,” he said while also lauding Mitchell Johnson’s spells.

Dravid played the diplomacy card when asked about the spat between Zaheer and Brad Haddin. “I didn’t ask Zaheer and he didn’t say anything. These kind of things happen,” Dravid said and when asked about any ‘extra pressure’ on the Indian team’s senior group, the reply was terse.

“No, no pressure,” he said.

He also played down his dismissal. “It is part and parcel of the game,” he said.

Meanwhile, Johnson could not suppress his joy after scalping Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman and Sourav Ganguly.

“It felt good to get Sachin, Laxman and Ganguly. Sachin was trying to hit hard through the line and I thought I will bowl a slower ball and I got him,” Johnson said.

The left-arm seamer said that the pitch’s variable bounce helped the fast bowlers.

“There are a few cracks and we seamers (from both teams) are trying to bang it in there and put the variable bounce in play. I guess that’s why we got the wickets. I enjoy bowling in India. It is tough work and I wouldn’t say it is a total graveyard (for fast bowlers),” he said.

“I have been working on getting my front arm and front leg going towards off stump and that’s helped me a bit,” he added.

Johnson declared the Aussie intent loud and clear.

“We want to win this match. We need to get the remaining two wickets quickly, score runs and put them in. Spinners might have a role but I will still put my hand up and bowl,” he said.

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