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Home > Cricket > Pakistan's tour of India 2007 > Report

Misbah's drop was the turning point, says Harbhajan

Harish Kotian in New Delhi | November 24, 2007 19:21 IST

If catches win matches then surely dropped catches lose you a few.

One just can't understand as to how Wasim Jaffer at forward short-leg could grass that simple catch to give Misbah-ul-Haq a reprieve.

Not surprisingly, new captain Anil Kumble was raging with anger and the whole team and country with disappointment. Pakistan were struggling to come to terms with the Indian spin duo of Harbhajan Singh [Images] and Kumble, who had reduced the visitors to 162 for 5 at that stage.

But that dropped catch seemed to change the course of the match as Misbah, batting from a flu, tried to score some quick runs. India went wicketless after that point as Pakistan added 50 more runs in 11 overs to reach 212 at the end of the third day.

Even Harbhajan admitted the dropped catch was a crucial moment in the third day's play and believes the situation could have been different if Jaffer had held on.

"If we had taken Misbah's catch, maybe we could have taken around eight or nine wickets or even got them all out. But sometimes catches do get dropped and sometimes brilliant ones are also taken. No one does it deliberately," he said at the end of the third day's play.

"It was a very crucial catch. But it is no use pondering on it since it is already past now, instead we must move forward and focus on the fourth day's play," he added.

Misbah remained unbeaten on 29 at close on third day as Pakistan stretched their lead to 167 runs with still five wickets in hand. However, Harbhajan believes India still have a good chance to win the match.

"We still have a good chance. The wicket is playing much better now. As you might have seen when their opening partnership was taking place, we were wondering whether it was the same wicket. The wicket is playing well and we are very happy to get five wickets in the last session," he said.

The 27-year-old also reiterated that he is not feeling disappointed after he was made to wait for 17 overs to have a bowl.

"I can only come to bowl if I am asked to do so [by the captain]. We always try to bowl well in partnerships, so sometimes you need to work out which combination works well. So I think whatever he [Anil Kumble] has done, he has got it right.

"I knew it was just a matter of time before I get to bowl. And I was just thinking that whenever I get to bowl, I will do well and I am glad I was able to take crucial wickets," he added.

He gave credit to captain Kumble saying the leggie brought India back in the match with the wickets of Yasir Hameed [Images] (36) and Younis Khan (23).

"Kumble bowled well and once again he brought us back into the match with those two crucial wickets. And when I bowled from that end, it was my first long spell in the match and luckily I got a wicket with my first delivery. And when you take a wicket off the very first delivery, it gives you confidence and you bowl positively," the Punjab spinner said.

Harbhajan believes that with the pitch getting better India should not have a problem chasing any total.

"We are ready to chase any sort of target because the kind of ability and quality that we have, we should be able to chase any total. The wicket is getting better and better and if we play to our potential we don't mind chasing anything. I don't think the wicket will change much in the next two days. It seems like getting better and better," he said.

  • Pakistan's tour of India 2007

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