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More than maiden ton, am happy to save match: Harbhajan

Agencies

Posted: Nov 08, 2010 at 1656 hrs IST
      

Ahmedabad: Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said more than his maiden century he was happy that he had saved the first cricket Test against New Zealand.

"Kamaal ho gaya hai. Yesterday, we were in a very difficult position and it seemed we were out of the game. More than the hundred, I am happy I have saved the game," Harbhajan, who scored 115 in India's second innings besides a half century in the first essay, said.

"I just went out and told myself that just stay there and watch the ball. I did that and Laxman was there to advise me at the other end," he said after the match ended in a draw.

"I couldn't celebrate much because I was too tired. My hands are a little sore because I have never batted that long," he added.

The fiesty off-spinner said he had never thought of winning the man-of-the-match award for batting in Test cricket.

"Never dreamt I would be MoM for batting, not in Tests, maybe in the one-dayers. Fantastic to get my hundred," said Harbhajan who had figures of 1 for 122 in New Zealand's first innings but did not bowl in the visitors' second essay which had only 10 overs.

Harbhajan gave credit to senior batsman V V S Laxman for completing his maiden century.

"A big thanks to Laxman, without whom I would not have scored this. Laxman was tapping my shoulder after every over, it was great to have him there. Because of him only, I got those runs.

"And also a big thanks to Sachin, Viru, and everyone who wanted me to score a century. They had been telling me that I can score a hundred in Test. Today I didn't disappoint them," said Harbhajan.

Home team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his side played well throughout except for the one hour of batting collapse in the second innings yesterday when India were 15 for five at one stage.

"That one hour yesterday we didn't play well, but VVS Laxman and Harbhajan thankfully rescued us. Last night I told Bhajji that this could be the most important innings in the series. We knew what Laxman is capable of, but we needed him to stand with him," he said.

Dhoni defended his bowlers for allowing New Zealand amass 459 in their first innings, saying the pitch had very little for them.

"It was very difficult to get wickets here. There was no reverse either because of the soft outfield. All credit to Chris Martin, he was the lone wolf, taking those five wickets.

Hoping Hyderabad to be a better track with more bounce, turn and reverse swing," he said.

"We did our best to make this match interesting through that collapse, but hoping that the next match does not need our help," he added.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori was disappointed that his side could not force for a win in the Test but said overall they had done well.

"I am proud how the guys stepped up at times when we needed them. Jesse and Kane with the bat, and Chris Martin with the ball yesterday, giving us a small chance of victory.

It is disppointing that we could not force for a win," he said.

"Unfortunately it was always going to be difficult with the injures, even Kane went down with the injury. We will have to call replacements in, and we need a team that can stand on the park. It's important we continue from this performance, we can't afford to rest on whatever laurels from here."

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