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Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 2nd day
'India should bat for a day and a half'
January 3, 2008
It was VVS Laxman's day but two late wickets mean the game is still finely balanced - a review of day two
 
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Ravi Shastri: "VVS Laxman took batting to a different level today" © Getty Images

Akhila Ranganna: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk, I have with me former India captain, Ravi Shastri to look back on the second day's play at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Ravi, today would have ended as India's day except for those quick wickets at the end. But it was a good fightback from India especially after Australia dominated the first session and then picked up Wasim Jaffer early.

Ravi Shastri: Yes, it was a very good fightback and it was a day dominated by VVS Laxman's innings which I thought was fabulous. He's got his third hundred at the SCG and the crowd that turned up today would have got their money's worth. He took batting to a different level. He took the attack to the Australians. But at the end of the day, one must say, with the double-break, Australia have pulled things back and the game is even-stevens now.

AR: You've spoken about Laxman, who took the attack to the Australian bowlers. His aggression was very crucial to get the momentum in India's favour.

RS: You know he loves batting on this ground and he must feel as if he owns this ground. His strokeplay today was unbelievable, especially in the first session. The first 50 runs he got, and some of the shots he played just before tea were a treat to the eye. It helped [Rahul] Dravid in many ways because he had got bogged down. The fact that Laxman played so beautifully allowed Dravid to take his time and with due respect to Dravid, he hung in and ensured that India got a good partnership going.

AR: Dravid started off slowly, but then gained in confidence. But he would have been disappointed at the timing and the mode of his dismissal.

RS: He would be, because he concentrated hard although one must say it was a charmed innings. He had his share of luck - he was dropped once, he was caught off a no-ball as well. But in between all that he concentrated hard and ensured that he didn't give it away. Sometimes when you're not in the best of nick, it's very easy to get frustrated, try something different and throw your wicket away at a crucial time. At the end of the day, he did lose his concentration but at least Laxman and Dravid put on 175 runs together.

AR: Ravi there is till a lot of cricket in this game left. How do you think India need to approach it now?

RS: India have to bat on. There is a lot of time left in this Test - still three days to go - and they cannot afford to relax one bit because thanks to Andrew Symonds, carrying on from where he left yesterday and with Brett Lee giving him good support, Australia have managed to get 463 on the board. So there are still a lot of runs to get. From India's point of view, they have to bat for more than a day. Ideally, [they should bat] for a day and a half in this Test.

AR: Ravi, thank you for your views. We'll hear from you again tomorrow, till then it's goodbye.

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