'At No. 3, you're setting the game' - Laxman
VVS Laxman has said the Sydney Test was balanced "really well" and wants his team-mates to get off to a good start on the third day. Thrilled with his third successive hundred at the SCG, Laxman hoped India would pile up a big first-innings total.
"It's very important Sachin and Sourav start off on a high tomorrow and have a big partnership," said Laxman. "As of now the match is evenly balanced. If they can build a big partnership we can have a big first-innings total and put pressure on the Aussies. I'm sure Tendulkar is looking forward to it. He's batting brilliantly. I'm sure he will get a double tomorrow like four years back."
Laxman continued his love affair with the SCG, scoring his third successive hundred on the ground. "Getting a hundred on this ground before definitely gives you a boost because you've done well and it's familiar conditions. It gives you a lot of confidence. It's always a satisfying thing for any cricketer to do well against the best team in the world. I'm very, very pleased that I have been able to do consistently well against them in some very tough situations and I want to carry that on."
Laxman's partner during the 175-run stand had to endure a fair share of struggles. "Although Rahul [Dravid] wasn't timing the ball well, I was very pleased that he played a fighting knock. That shows a lot about his character. He kept fighting, it was a gritty knock. We were both playing our own games, we don't try to interfere with each other's games. The important thing is not how many runs we scored individually but that we had a good partnership."
Laxman's innings was vital in the context of the series, especially with India's batsmen being shackled for large periods at the MCG. "The wickets are different," he said. "At the MCG the ball wasn't coming onto the bat. It was very difficult to play your shots there. It required a different kind of game plan, whereas here the ball was coming onto the bat and you can play your natural game.
"We had starts at the MCG but we didn't carry on. We made a conscious effort not to repeat that mistake. In the MCG, four of five batsmen got into the 20s and 30s but nobody converted that into a really big score. It makes a difference."
Was he happy to be batting at No. 3, considering that he had often been stranded with the tail when batting at No. 6? "Sometimes it helps because at No. 3 you're setting the game whereas at No. 6 you're playing to the situation the team is already in, so that's a huge difference. But I was disappointed that we lost two quick wickets. I really wanted to be not out and carry on tomorrow. It's not a lapse in concentration, it's just that you misjudge the line or the length."
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo