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Ganguly disappointed at missing century
Bikash Mohapatra in Kanpur

Sourav Ganguly
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April 12, 2008 19:14 IST

He has scored as many as 15 career centuries in 106 Tests but none against South Africa.

And when opportunity did knock his doors, he took time to open it. The end result -- the three-figure score against the said opponents remains elusive.

Sourav Ganguly [Images] has at least one century to his name against seven of the nine Test-playing nations in his long and illustrious career. The only two countries, against whom he has come up short being the West Indies [Images] and South Africa.

The second day of the third and final Test at Green Park in Kanpur on Saturday witnessed the 35-year-old play a crucial role in ensuring India a first innings lead over the visitors.

In the process he registered his 34th fifty-plus score in the longer version of the game, made his second half-ton in Kanpur and was involved in two crucial partnerships. His 87 also equalled his best score against the South Africans matching the effort in his previous innings in the Motera Test.

But in trying to accelerate, while also running out of partners, he lost out on a personal milestone when the stage appeared perfectly set. No wonder he was left a disappointed man at the end of day's play.

"Very," was his single-word answer to describe his disappointment. "I have got out many times in such a position. It is something up in the head." Coming in to bat when his team had lost both the openers, Sourav said his strategy was simple.

"I had decided to be positive and play my natural game. There was no point in surviving and not getting runs.

"The key was to keep the scoreboard running and considering the surface I think it is one of my best knocks," he explained. With this being the last Test of the series and India not playing South Africa in the near future and Ganguly (36 in July) not getting any younger, time is certainly running out for him. But the southpaw chose not to fret much over the missed opportunity and concentrate on the match instead.

"If we somehow manage to extend our lead to 50 [India are 23 ahead at the moment] and get a couple of wickets before they get to fifty, then something might just happen," he explained. Asked what score India would be comfortable chasing in the fourth innings, Sourav's reply was tongue-and-cheek.

"The least the better," he smiled. And as far as achieving his personal milestone is concerned it would be suffice to say that hope floats and good things happen to those who are prepared to wait. And to wait for the next opportunity is Sourav's only option.

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