Sunday, 10 July 2011

Laxman touches 8000 runs in Tests

Laxman touches 8000 runs in Tests

Special Correspondent He has words of comfort for Vijay, Abhinav and Kohli Photo: AFP 

FALSE SHOT:V.V.S Laxman revealed that Fidel Edwards's hostile bowling from the other end forced him into a fatal error against Devendra Bishoo. —

Bridgetown: It was an eventful day for V.V.S. Laxman at the Kensington Oval on Tuesday.

He reached the 8000-run mark in Tests — only Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sunil Gavaskar have scored more runs for India — and notched up his typically fluent 85 in a situation of adversity for India.

Laxman, however, was disappointed that he missed his 17th Test century. “If you look at my career, I have not converted most of my half-centuries into hundreds. You put in so much hard work and still you do not reach the three-figure mark,” he mulled.

In fact, Laxman reached another milestone during his brilliant innings for India. It was his 50th Test fifty; this is the wristy batsman's 122nd Test.

Laxman was consumed on the cut by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo. “If I had not made the mistake, we might have scored 60 or 70 more runs,” he admitted.

He also revealed that fast bowler Fidel Edwards' hostile bowling from the other end forced him into a false shot against Bishoo.

“Edwards was getting the ball to reverse and generating speed. He was also attacking the batsmen with his short-pitched deliveries. I wanted to face Edwards in order to avoid exposing the tail to him. I was looking for a single off Bishoo but ended up playing that shot on the spur of the moment,” Laxman said.

Despite their failure in the Indian first innings, the genial Laxman had words of comfort for Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund and Virat Kohli. “The two openers, Vijay and Mukund, are talented. It has been hard for them since the pitches in the West Indies this time, during the first hour at least, have been a bit damp. In time, they will come good.

“Kohli is a fabulous player. He was unlucky today since the ball did not bounce as much as he expected,” he said.

Laxman added that Suresh Raina was a much-improved batsman. “He looked comfortable against the short-pitched deliveries. So far, he has come up with two important innings for us in the series.”

On his batting, Laxman said, “I did not have adequate practice ahead of the first Test in Kingston but found my batting rhythm here today. I felt I was timing the ball better.”

He said No. 3 was his preferred slot in his younger days but added he had adapted his game to suit the various positions he has walked in for India.

Laxman was appreciative of the effort from the Indian pacemen late on day one. “The bowlers have got us into the match,” he said. West Indies paceman Ravi Rampaul impressed with his aggression and control in the first session. He made major inroads into the Indian line-up with three scalps before lunch.

Rampaul said, “We knew the pitch would offer us some help. We struck early and put India on the back-foot. But the stand between Laxman and Raina enabled India recover.”

The paceman said the surface eased out after lunch. “The bowlers were getting no swing. It would only get better for batting from now on. We are looking at a good lead. A total of around 300 would be ideal.” Rampaul was clearly unruffled by the loss of three early wickets in the West Indian first innings.

Rampaul said his ploy was to test the younger Indian batsmen with short-pitched deliveries. “I wanted to be aggressive. When I see a batsman coming on to the front foot, I bowl short to push him back. We know the Indians do not like the short ball so we try to use it more often.”

He rallied behind the emerging West Indian batsmen. “They lack in confidence but have the ability. We support them completely.”

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