Miracles have happened in cricket: Gambhir
Mumbai, Nov 25: Day 3 of the Wankhede Test was a forgettable day at the office for India. After allowing England to score 413, they lost seven wickets in the last session with a meagre second innings lead of 31. In the midst of the procession of wickets, only one man showed resistance. Gautam Gambhir watched from one end as his partners kept changing at alarming regularity.
Such was the extent of India’s annihilation that R Ashwin’s 11 is the second highest score of the innings after Gambhir’s unbeaten 53. However, never one to give up, India’s opening batsman vowed to put up a stern fight on Day 4 because he knows that “miracles have happened in cricket before”.
“We still have three wickets left and we have to be positive,” he said. “If Bhajji [Harbhajan Singh] and I get a partnership going and we get 120-odd runs on the board, the game is on. If we can be reduced to 117 for 7, we can do the same to their batsmen,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir drew inspiration from the Test between India and Australia at the same venue in 2004. Australia, chasing 107 for a victory, were bundled out for 93, handing a 13-run win to India. “I remember, when I made my Test debut here [in 2004], Australia too got dismissed for 90-odd runs in the fourth innings,” Gambhir said.
If India are to repeat that history, their spinners will have to elevate their game to a great extent when their turn of defending a small total comes in the fourth innings. There was a marked difference between India’s spin trio and England’s pair of slow bowlers. Gambhir, an excellent player of spin himself, said the English spinners were more effective because of the pace they generate in the air.
“I personally felt that they bowled a little quicker in the air,” Gambhir said, before explaining, “When you bowl quick while there’s bite in the wicket, some balls spin and some keep straight. I felt our bowlers bowled too slow at times and other times they tried to bowl too fast.
“You need to decide on that perfect speed that enables you to benefit from the turn and bounce in the wicket. Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar figured that speed out and that troubled us. Our bowlers got the turn and bounce as well but I think it was the speed that made a huge difference today.”
Besides holding one end up of India’s tottering innings, Gambhir was also in the thick of things when he took a catch at silly point to get rid of Johnny Bairstow. The ball seemed to have hit the grill of Gambhir’s helmet when he took the catch. There were calls of recalling Bairstow, who fell at the stroke of lunch. However, eventually he remained out.
Giving his view on the incident, Gambhir said, “When we went into lunch I personally felt that once the ball hits the body and then the grill, it’s out.” He added, “It all happened so quickly that I only got to know later what exactly happened. But I haven’t had a word with MS whether to recall him or not.”