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We have a good chance to win: Harbhajan
Harish Kotian in Kolkata | December 02, 2007 18:52 IST
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh [Images] believes India still hold the upper hand despite Pakistan's resilient comeback in the second Test in Kolkata.
"This match will surely produce a result. We are still in the driver's seat as we have a lot of runs in hand, so will hope to clean up the remaining wickets quickly. We will then make a decision on whether to bat or bowl if we get the follow-on option," he said on Sunday.
"We have a good chance to win this Test match and finish off the game here itself," Harbhajan added.
Pakistan staged a brilliant comeback on Day 3, courtesy centuries from Kamran Akmal and Misbah-ul Haq after they were reeling at 150 for 5 at one stage in the match.
At close on the third day, Pakistan reached 358 for six in reply to India's score of 616 for five declared.
Akmal scored a brilliant 119, while Misbah continued his good form to remain unbeaten on 108 at stumps. The two batsmen added 207 runs for the sixth wicket to thwart the Indian bowlers for nearly two sessions and keep their team afloat in this crucial do-or-die match for them.
"I think Misbah-Ul Haq and Kamran Akmal batted really well. At the start, they were not sure about the pace of the wicket, but once they got in, they batted really well," said Harbhajan, praising the Pakistani duo.
He heaped rich praise on Akmal, who has now scored four of his five Test centuries against India.
"He has really batted well against us. I remember the hundred he scored in Mohali and it was a really good hundred and also the one in Karachi. Then he scored another one in Lahore [Images], but I don't think it was a great hundred because even you guys could have scored a century there. He is a good player, quality player," the Indian off-spinner said.
Misbah has been a constant source of pain for the Indian bowlers in the last few months, starting from the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. The 33-year-old again showed great courage to fight it out against the Indian bowlers with a free-flowing approach despite the loss of wickets.
"Misbah is batting really well. The wickets are slow but he is doing well. He is a good player of spin bowling. He has not played much [international] cricket till now. But as he carries on playing, people will get to know about his weakness. I think he has been batting really well in both the ODI series and this Test series now," Harbhajan said.
Harbhajan was India's most successful bowler on day three, claiming three wickets for 86 runs in 31.4 overs. He got the most important wicket of Akmal in his final over of the day to push Pakistan further back.
Despite the slow pitch, the 27-year-old said India were always looking to take wickets.
"We were always looking to get wickets. As you saw, the wicket is quite good and lot of runs have been scored on it and is still being scored. But if we bowl with a good field we have the advantage of having runs on the board. We all four bowlers were trying to bowl on a good line and length and put the batsmen under pressure and look to take wickets," he said.
Harbhajan refused to blame the wicket and said bowlers need to learn to bowl on all types of surfaces.
"These are the kind of wickets you get to play. You should be able to bowl on all types of wickets. It is a good wicket for Test cricket -- runs are being scored and if you bowl well, you will get wickets too. I wish it had more pace and carry for the fast bowlers so they would have got some
encouragement to bowl as well," he said.