Gautam Gambhir hopes for miracle to recue India against England

Gautam Gambhir was the lone Indian batsman to tackle England spinners well on the third day as he remained unbeaten on 53 PTI

Mumbai: Nov 25, 2012

India are facing a crushing defeat against England in the second Test but an optimistic Gautam Gambhir is hoping that a miracle would happen and turn around things for them on Monday.

Left-handed opener Gambhir, who is fighting hard from one end with an unbeaten 53, said it has happened in the past when India wriggled itself out of difficult situations.

He recalled the 2004 Test match against Australia at this very ground when India pulled the rug from under the feet of the visitors, who were shot out for 93 chasing 111.

“Miracles have happened. Things have changed quickly. Any thing is possible if we can put runs on the board. If you remember there was a Test match here when Australia were bowled out for 70 or 80. It was my Test debut,” said Gambhir.

“Tomorrow we will try. And be positive we have three wickets left. If we can get one partnership going and get 120-130 run target on the board the game is on. If we can be 113 for 7 then we can try and get them all out. They will also struggle to get these runs. We have to be positive. The important thing is we need runs on the board for the bowlers.”

In that game Harbhajan Singh — one of the three Indian spinners in the current game — picked up five wickets while left arm spinner Murali Karthik bagged three as India won after conceding a 99-run lead to the Aussies.

Asked if Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann bowled better than the home spinners, Gambhir said the secret of visiting team duo’s success was bowling at the right speed.

“I personally felt they (Panesar and Swann) bowled a little quicker in the air. When you have bite on the wicket and you bowl quicker in the air, some balls spin and some keep straight.

“I think at times we bowled too fast and at times bowled too slow in the air. On this wicket, which has turn and bounce, Monty and Swann bowled with ideal speed and thats what troubled us. We were getting turn and bounce as well. It was just the speed that made a huge difference,” he said.

Gambhir backed India’s spin trio who he said was no less than the England spinners.

“I don’t say their spinners bowled better than ours. If you take out the partnership between Cook and Kevin Pietersen none of their other batsmen have contributed in a big way which shows our bowlers have also bowled well.

“I will say that Monty bowled better than Ojha. He was getting the extra bite and jump though our bowlers also got it,” said Gambhir.

The Indian opener, whose form was a bit of concern before today’s innings, said Pietersens positive outlook and his 206-run stand with Cook took the game away.

“Pietersen never allowed our bowlers to settle down. He is someone who gives you chances. He is someone who always looks to score runs, is always positive and so there is always an opportunity but there are times when he takes the game away from you like he did today,” said Gambhir.

Asked whether Harbhajan Singh was under-bowled, Gambhir said it happens when three good spinners were operating.

“When there are three quality spinners in a side, one would be under bowled. You can’t give bowlers a stint by looking at the scoreboard. I maintain all three bowled well.”

Talking about his own form, coming into this match, Gambhir did not give a direct reply.

“I have always maintained that form is something which is very individual. May be you guys and the rest of the people decide on how many runs you put on the board. As a player if you ask me about form, it is when you are happy with the way you bat or bowl,” he said.

About the controversial catch he took to send back Jonny Bairstow in the England first innings, Gambhir insisted that he did not know the exact law.

“I haven’t spoken about that catch to Dhoni. It just happened in such a quick time I did not realize it. I personally felt that the ball touching the body and grille it is out. Later I came to know it is not out but I did not know it.”

As per the laws of the game, Bairstow was not out, but he too did not seem to know the rule and walked off thinking he was out though the ball had bounced off Gambhir’s hand, hit Bairstow’s helmet’s grille and dropped back into his hands.

The home team opener was all praise for the Wankhede track and said it was a very good wicket and such tracks would bring back crowds to watch Test cricket.

“It’s a good Test cricket wicket, it’s a very result-oriented wicket. Sometimes you want to play a Test match which is not a high scoring one. There is no fun playing a Test match when someone scores 500 and other team scores 600. There is no point.

“This is what will bring crowd back to Test cricket. This is what will increase the interest of test cricket in India, when you get results and there is something happening in each and every delivery. And I have always felt playing on these kind of tracks is good fun because Test cricket is meant to be testing players.

“Test cricket is not like one-day or T20 where you just go and smash every ball. Every hundred is special on this kind of wicket,” he said.