Gambhir lauds England spinners, hopes miracle saves India
Nothing seems to be working for India in the ongoing second Test against England in Mumbai. They sit on the brink of an embarrassing defeat, with a narrow lead of 31 runs and three wickets in hand at the end of Day 3, despite batting first on a turning track.
India are struggling at 117 for 7 in their second innings after left-arm spinner Monty Panesar claimed five for 61, his second five-wicket haul in the match.
Centuries from Kevin Pietersen (186) and captain Alastair Cook had taken England to 413 in their first innings in reply to India's 327 all out.
Gautam Gambhir, who saved the blushes with a battling half-century late in the day, is hoping for a miracle on the fourth day that would possibly turn around his team's fortunes.
Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images
'You have to be positive'
"You can't say that we will come for just a formality tomorrow. Miracles can happen and things can change very quickly. We just need to put some more runs on the board," said Gambhir, who finished the day unbeaten on 53.
"There are three batsmen still left. You have to be positive. If Bhajji and I get a good partnership, then we can get a good score around 120 to 150. If we can be 110-7, then even they can.
"One thing is that we need to put runs on the board. If we can give them 120-150 runs to chase, it will be a good score. When I played my debut Test here, Australia was all out for 70-odd runs. So anything is possible. Even they will struggle to get to that score. We have three quality spinners," he added.
The left-hander observed that England's spinners used the pitch better than India's and bowled at the right pace.
Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images
'I felt that England's spinners were quicker in the air'
Panesar and Graeme Swann have taken 16 wickets in 110.1 overs in the two innings so far, while the Indian spin trio of Pragyan Ojha, R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh managed just nine in 103.3 overs.
"I felt that England's spinners were quicker in the air. There was bite and bounce on the wicket, so some balls will turn and some will keep straight. The difference was the speed that they bowled. At times, they were quick and sometimes slow as well.
"It is important to know what kind of speed you want to bowl at on this kind of wicket, where there is turn and bounce. So, maybe, Monty and Graeme bowled with ideal speed which made a huge difference," he said.
Image: Monty Panesar
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
'Pietersen and Cook's partnership took away the game from us'
The Indian opener believes that the 206-run partnership between Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen, who both scored centuries, took the game away from India. Cook played a steady innings of 122, while Pietersen finally banished the demons of playing spin with a blistering innings of 186 from 233 balls.
"It is just that Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook's partnership took away the game from us. We didn't have good sessions. If we had 70 to 80 runs to play with, we would well have been in the game. If you take out that partnership between Cook and Pietersen, no other batsmen contributed," he said.
Despite his team on the verge of a defeat, Gambhir was all praise for the Wankhede track, which provided three thrilling days of cricket so far.
"It is a very good wicket. There is no fun playing Test cricket when one team scores 500 and the other 600. People will only come and watch when you get results, when you know something is happening on every delivery. Such wickets will revive Test cricket in India. Test cricket is supposed to test the players after all," he said.
Image: Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook
Photographs: Getty Images