Sydney: Jan 5, 2012
More than his glorious 329-run knock, it was Michael Clarke's declaration which impressed former India skipper Sourav Ganguly as it was a decision which put team's interest ahead of personal landmarks.
"This was a rare opportunity for Clarke to carry on and break a world record set by one Brian Charles Lara. It was all set for him against a tired bowling and fielding unit that had been on the park for so long. But he did what a lot of captains trying to win cricket matches do.
"He put the perspective of the game and interests of his team far ahead of personal landmarks," Ganguly wrote in his column for The Age.
"To me, the timing of Clarke's declaration was a terrific decision. It is easy to forget Clarke only recently became captain and this is only his 10th Test as skipper."
Ganguly admitted that India require a monumental effort to save the Sydney Test but the class the Indian batting line-up possesses gave him a reason to hope.
"Predicting results in sport can make one look like foolish, but India will have to do something very, very special from here to save the Test. Fortunately, we have some very, very special batsmen!," he wrote.
India is still trailing by a huge margin of 354 runs and have eight wickets in hand.
And he had a piece of advice for the Indian batsmen. "The visitors need to go out fearlessly. They need to believe in themselves, think positively and save this match.
Clarke will attack, so there should be open fields and plenty of opportunity for batsmen to score.
"There are still two Tests left in the series. If India can save this match, it can even go on to win the series...
This is an ideal platform for India to get runs on the board and gain confidence for the Perth Test."
Ganguly was happy with the way opener Gautam Gambhir has changed his approach but was baffled why Indian bowlers are not doing well in helpful conditions.
"Gautam Gambhir has seized the opportunity so far - and must now take advantage of being dropped by Brad Haddin just before stumps. He is a gutsy player and came out with positive intent in this innings. His mental approach was a lot different yesterday to his previous knocks and he played well.
"He reminds me of former Australian captain Mark Taylor.
He has a short back lift and is a punchy little player. He has the ability to score a big hundred and this is his opportunity."
"The bowling has to be a lot tighter on good batting wickets. It is an issue to be addressed by bowling coach Eric Simons because, to me, it's a confidence issue rather than lack of ability. They can bowl well on the flat pitches in India, so why not in more bowler-friendly conditions in England and Australia?," he concluded. (PTI)