India v Australia, 2nd Test, Chennai, 3rd day

'We'll be looking to chase less than 100'

Dileep Premachandran at Chennai

October 16, 2004

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Mohammad Kaif announced his return to the Indian side with a composed and gritty 64, suffering in the final stages with cramp that forced him off just after lunch. After the day's play, he reflected on his innings, and on the state of a match that India are now odds-on favourites to win.



Mohammad Kaif: 'The conditions have been hard for everyone. Even if you're just standing on the field, you start sweating'

© AFP

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On returning to the side despite having been tagged a one-day player for so long
I was feeling good, and I did quite well in England, where I made two 50s and also batted higher up the order. I'm making my comeback after three years.

On why he was in so much distress
I was cramping up. I don't think I drank enough water. I'd had viral fever in Bangalore, and I think it was a combination of two things, weakness and dehydration.

On what he considered an achieveable fourth-innings target
It depends, it's hard to say. Our spinners are bowling well and Zak [Zaheer Khan] chipped in with a crucial wicket at the end. We'll be looking to chase 100, or maybe even less.

On the pitch and the conditions
It's quite slow and low. The spinners are getting turn and bounce. The conditions have been hard for everyone. Even if you're just standing on the field, you start sweating.

On how he approached the innings
It was important to remain patient. I had a crucial partnership with Parthiv Patel. But the conditions were not easy.

On India's lower-order batting
In the first Test, Irfan [Pathan] and Parthiv batted really well. We've been putting a lot of effort in. Against teams like Australia, it's always a close contest, and the team needs every run it can get.

On his run-out
It was quite funny to be honest. I was a little lost, unable to concentrate.

On whether Australia raised any objection to his having a runner
They were a little confused about whether to allow a runner or not. But I told them that I was not completely fit, and that I was cramping up.

On getting Gilchrist at the fag end of the day's play
It was a great wicket to get. He's a player who can change the game at any stage. He made that hundred in Bangalore and has done well in these conditions. It will definitely help us to have new batsmen at the crease tomorrow.

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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