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We need to see off the first hour: Harbhajan

Last updated on: January 6, 2011 10:05 IST

'We could have created more chances'



India spinner Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday conceded that India let slip the third Test out of their hands and reckons that their pace department could have done a better job.


South Africa were struggling at 98 for five at one stage but went on to set a stiff target of 340-runs for India to win the match with Jacques Kallis scoring a defiant century.

- Day 4 Report

Harbhajan said had Indian pacers -- who managed just two wickets in the second innings of South Africa -- succeeded in exploiting the favourable conditions, the script of the match could have been a lot different.

"I don't know what the plan was. But I think we could have created more chances throughout the day. We didn't bowl the right length. I'm not being critical but just giving my honest opinion that our seamers could have taken a few more wickets. There is still pace and carry and we've seen that their seamers have taken a lot of wickets," he said after day's play.

Image: Harbhajan Singh celebrates with Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Reuters

'Happy I got wickets'

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Harbhajan said he was satisfied with his own show and has given an answer to his critics but the overall bowling show was not encouraging.

"Happy I got wickets but not happy that Kallis got a 100. At one stage we were in a good stage at 130 for 6, but from there on they batted well, but we didn't create enough chances and didn't bowl as well as we should have," he said.

"A lot of people have been saying things, writing things, but I think I have been contributing to team wins. I'm happy with the way I have bowled. Number one wicket taker is Dale Steyn and from India I have taken the most wickets."

Image: Harbhajan Singh celebrates after picking up a South African wicket at Newlands

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'We need to see off the first hour'

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On India's chase, which will begin on Thursday on the final day, the off-spinner said a good start is imperative for them.

"Kallis and Boucher showed that if you use your brains you can score runs. We need to see off the first hour. We need some firecrackers from Sehwag. If he can take us to 100 for no loss, that will be a good start. The new ball will be crucial," he said.

Talking about the wicket of New Lands, he said, "It does a bit in the morning, but as the day progresses it gets settled a bit. I don't know why that is. I would have liked to get wickets later on as well as it would have been good to chase 200. Kallis showed what a big players he is, scoring runs under pressure in difficult conditions."

Image: Jacques Kallis

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'It's better to play in conditions like this'

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Harbhajan said the kind of cricket the two teams have played in the series was of high standard.

"It was a great series. When No. 1 and No. 2 play you have great competition. This is what you expect from a series like this. At one stage we thought we would be chasing 200, but now we're left with 340 to get.

"There have been runs scored, wickets taken. It's better to play in conditions like this where there is something in the bowling all the time. In India, there's nothing for the bowling and people like me go in at No. 7 and can murder the bowling," he said.

Image: Harbhajan Singh celebrates after picking up Hashim Amla

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