Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Harbhajan upset with India's lack of intensity

Mumbai: Not entirely happy with the team's energy level in the field, star off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said the hosts could have saved 35-40 runs by showing a little more intensity on the first day of their third and deciding Test against Sri Lanka here on Wednesday.

"We could have bowled a little better than what we did today. We tried a little too much," Harbhajan said.

"We could also have fielded better. It was a day where our energy levels were low. We gave a lot of runs in the third session," the feisty off-spinner said after grabbing four of the eight Lanka wickets that fell during the day.

"Had we created pressure by fielding and bowling well, it could have been a difference of 35-40 runs," he said after India conceded 153 runs in 33 overs in the post-tea period to help Lanka finish the day at 366 for eight.

Harbhajan did not elaborate whether the visitors had taken the upper hand on a track that offered turn and bounce.

"I don't want to say whether they will have an edge or not. All I can say is that we want to take the remaining wickets quickly. We have the batsmen who can score the runs. It's a high-scoring ground," he said.

Harbhajan praised the track at the Brabourne Stadium hosting a Test after 36 years.

"It's a good track to bat and bowl. If you see today's play they have got one hundred (Tillakaratne Dilshan) and one 90 (Angelo Mathews on unbeaten 86). The seamers got something and the spinners had bounce," he pointed out, adding: "I was not surprised by the pitch taking turn on the first day itself."

He also praised the visiting team's batsmen, especially Dilshan who made 109.

"With batsmen like Dilshan and Viru (Virender Sehwag) at the crease the scoreboard will definitely be moving. It's important to get them out early. They (visitors) deserved the credit and batted well today," he said.

On his own performance the offie said he did not do anything different than in Kanpur and Ahmedabad to reap a rich haul of 4 for 107.

"I was bowling just the way I have been bowling. Sometimes the wickets we get, it's difficult even to beat the batsmen.

"In Kanpur (second Test) the ball was keeping low and not carrying while you have seen what happened in Ahmedabad (nearly 1600 runs scored in a drawn tie). We bowled well but it could have been better; we gave 15-20 runs extra," he said.

Harbhajan advised not to expect too many things from left-arm spin partner Pragyan Ojha and put the Hyderabad bowler under needless pressure.

"Don't expect wonders from him. It's just his second game and he's still learning and is a promising bowler," he said.

Backing rival offie and the highest Test wicket-taker in the world, Muttiah Muralitharan, despite the visiting bowler's lack of success on the tour, Harbhajan said the Lankan ace would be eager to bowl on the Brabourne track.

"Murali is the biggest match winner in world cricket. Playing him (here) would be a challenge. He would be looking forward to bowl on this wicket, but we have the batsmen who have played him well. We played well against him in Galle (Sri Lanka) where the wicket was turning and Sehwag got a double century," he said.

"The kind of wickets we are playing (on) you bring on any bowler and he will look ineffective. We need to improve the wickets we are playing on," Harbhajan said.

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