India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 5th day November 8, 2010

Harbhajan and Laxman provide a contrast of styles

ESPNcricinfo staff
Harbhajan and Laxman came to India's rescue against New Zealand in their own contrasting styles
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The way VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh ran between the wickets today perfectly captured the differences in their personas, and their knocks. As ever, Laxman never seemed to run, but strolled calmly in his anachronistic way. Harbhajan was different; he often ambled three-quarters of the way down the pitch, before rushing at the end to barely beat the throw. Occasionally, he just walked across. On one instance, he even back-pedalled a few steps on the second run. It suggested a touch of insouciance, a pinch of foolhardiness, a smidgen of showmanship, and a streak of ballsiness. It's what makes Harbhajan the player he is, and all those attributes were reflected in his batting.

Trouble arrived as early as the third over of the day. He drove to the left of Daniel Vettori at mid-off and set off for a single. Had the throw been accurate (it bounced over the stumps), that would have been the end of Harbhajan. It would be the quickest he would run for a single all day. The next Harbhajan moment came an over later: there was a gap of about seven feet between short cover and short extra cover, and he smacked a length delivery from Chris Martin right between them. Was he aiming for that gap or was it a purely instinctive reaction? Was it ballsy or was it foolhardy? Perhaps in his mind there was no choice at that moment. He simply had to play it.

Soon after he played a cheeky reverse sweep off Jeetan Patel, a shot he later described with great delight, perfectly capturing his spirit: "He was bowling outside off and I thought if there is an opportunity I will reverse sweep. I made up my mind to reverse sweep that ball. If I had missed that ball I would have been out," he said with a laugh. "And that would have been a mess. Glad I connected it."

At the same time, there seemed to be an awareness of the risks he was taking somewhere in the background in his psyche, even if it wasn't strong enough to overpower his adventurous instinct. "I want to promise to myself that I should not play a reverse sweep in Test cricket again because I have got out playing that shot many times."

Still blocking is not his style. "I know that I will get out if I keep defending," he said. Of course, that was followed by, "I know if I can play straight, I can score runs; there is no need for fancy shots." This is from the same man who played the reverse sweep, the hoick over midwicket, the walk-down-the-pitch-and-smack shots, and the lofted hits over long-on fielders. But that's Harbhajan the batsman for you.

Rewind to the first hour of play. Harbhajan walked down the track and swiped Martin from outside off to the leg side. Laxman said something from the other end. At that stage, India were 135 for 6, several runs, and at least an hour's batting, short of safety. The very next ball he walked out again, got down on his knee, and dragged a delivery from well outside off to the leg side. This time Laxman walked the full length of the pitch to have a chat with his partner, and Harbhajan nodded. Planned or not, the next delivery from Martin was perfect: it was short and slightly wide. A straighter delivery might not have raised temptation in the context of what had already happened in that over. Harbhajan, of course, flashed it over the head of gully, and received a pat on the back from his senior partner.

On the other hand, what can be said about Laxman that's not been said before? It is perhaps easier to define Laxman through the images of other batsmen in crisis situations. If it was Rahul Dravid, you would have seen him fighting; the hands that hold the bat seem to get tighter, the face-muscles tighten, the intensity escalates, self-admonishments increase, and you can feel the battle he is waging. The whole match situation comes alive in your mind when he bats. You can feel the gravitas.

If it was Sachin Tendulkar batting in crisis, you can feel his effort in trying to portray that there is no pressure out there and that he is in control. The signature self-nod after playing a shot is done more often and he would look at the bowler or turn away to the leg side with an expressionless face when he is beaten. You can feel him trying to be in total control. You can sense the pressure he puts himself on.

With Brian Lara, you just gasped and watched him trying to impose himself. You could feel his fierce desire to win the game on his own. Lara was, and knew he was, the centre of the universe in such situations, and that his team would live or die with him. And he let everyone know it. As he launched into his awe-inspiring counter-attacks, the chats with his partners would increase, and he will look to get inspired by any verbals from the opposition. He was like a boxer priming himself for heavyweight contest. You couldn't take your eyes of him.

With Laxman, you almost don't see him. You see his partners bat more. Or so it seems. He flows like a becalmed river. The fabulous wristy shots come and go, the singles are always flowing, the gaps are found repeatedly, and his face is calm. There is the ball and his reaction to it. That's it. Or it appears. These crisis situations seem to help him balance his art with commerce which he, sometimes, tussles with during less-demanding times.

The best Laxman tribute came from the opposing captain. "Laxman just did what he always does," Vettori said "He scores runs."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 11, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    mr vipin choodhary

    that link must have answered you sach's average v/s windies is not 42 as you suggested ,but its close to 60 ... sachin had played well against a windies team which had great bowlers .he did not get his average up against a winides bowling line up which had greats like adam sanford ,pedro collins,darren powell ... its for u to see who improved their records against windies post 2000 and became match winners. for your kind information while chasing 120, it was a collective failure & not sachin alone recently india got bowled out for 87 v/s nz in odi.atleast windies had great attack

    ... even the mighty aussies failed to score 107 against india at mumbai in 2004 - hayden,langer,ponting,martyn,clarke,gilchrist could not score 107 ?

    Agreed Sachin had a modest record against pak and saf . Still sach had scored a great 136 v/s pak only for his great teammates to lose . in his debut series sach batted at number 6 and still saved a test in company of sidhu from 38 for 4

  • POSTED BY ChenduPhali on | November 11, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    @venkat4018, you said it right mate. Agarkar still deserves a chance ahead of still inexperienced fast bowlers in Indian Team. He may have been expensive sometimes, but he was always a good wicket-taker and partnership-broker. Dravid used him quite well under his own captaincy. Dont know why Ganguly used to ignore and had ignored him many a times.God only can tell what Ganguly earned by taking Dinesh Mongia into the team ahead og Agarkar for world cup matches in 2003.

  • POSTED BY Rumy1 on | November 10, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • POSTED BY vipin.chaudhary2325 on | November 10, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    sachin is batting well in dis stage of his carrier in 4th innings. before 2008, c his record in 4th inning, just 2 centuries & 3 half centuries, how many matches did he won for India batting in 4th innings against Ambrose & walsh, Doland & Pollock, Wasim & shoaib blah blah blah. he is getting advantage of Virendra Sehwag, it was sehwag who make quick fire 83 against England when India chase 387, where was sachin when India were chasin 120 against west indies, why was India unable to win just a single test match outside Indian subcontinent in whole 1990's, what was sachin avarege against west indies & Africa before 2000- 33 against africa, 42 against west indies, 35 against pakistan, when murali wasn't a great bowler, sachin average against Lanka was around 90.. after 2000 sachin average against lanka was 40, thanx to series in 2010, which increase his average little bit, 10 time a debut bowler take sachin his first wicket, no worldcup, no champion trophy, sorry mate u r not match winer

  • POSTED BY venkat4018 on | November 10, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    Dear Cricinfo,

    My comment is nowhere near the article that you have posted. But I feel that the best way of expressing myself is CRICINFO (it has maximum viewers). I am a die hard fan of Ajit Agarkar. I am not ashamed to be so. He has the best fast bowling record for India in ODI. 288 wickets with a good average. Economic Rate is 5.07. Just see the ecomonic rates of Sreeshanth, Ishanth, Vinay Kumar, etc.. Agarkar is far better. He can bat better than Ravindra Jadeja. Fantastic Fielder with a super throwing arm. But people tend to forget him because he is inconsistent. Of course He is but just imaging all our fast bowlers leak runs in death. I want him back in Indian Team. I hope this article is read by many lovers and haters of agarkar. He has dismissed almost all top batsmen on the cricket. He has not given much opportunities except under Azarudin and Dravid. Dinesh Mongia was picked ahead of him for sheer Luck under Ganguly captaincy. Just give him a chance once for lifetime.

  • POSTED BY J_Jay on | November 10, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    @ vardarajan101 - Good work mate. Well done. Really it becomes a bit annoying and sad when we ignore SRT's contributions over 2 decades and start calling him selfish or record hungary. And what we throw at him every time is Lara's 153. That's it? This man has been a portrait of consistency, humility, hard work and dedication and has brought laurels to India around the world, and we kids start questioning his contributions. Guys he deserves a break. So what if he has a bad match. He is a human too and a much much better than us.

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63866.html 116 and 52 at mcg what do you expect sachin to do when all his great team mates don't want to put up a fight ? where were the match winners and savers ? why could they not register a single good knock then ?

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63919.html 76 and 65 at mumbai in 2001 series

    scorecards tell you the story

    there are 2 more centuries of sachin which won match but not rated as matchwinning because of sachin failing in 2nd innings - oh i should say because of umpiring blunders against sachin

    port of spain in 2001 - sach got 117 and then given out lbw for duck in 2nd - what can sachin do if umpires are hell bent in giving sach out wrongly

    again 3rd test of 2001 series v/s aussies in chennai sach got 124 in 1st innings and 17 in 2nd innings ...again sach was given out incorrectly 2nd time round off a no ball

    VVS got 50's and sach was said to fail in 2nd innings ;but what can sach do if umpires don't let him bat ?

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 21:46 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/464526.html 214 & 53* in next match ... not match winning ???

    here are some knocks where sachin's gems were wasted by his own team mates :-

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63713.html trailing by 99 ,sachin got 122 in 2nd innings out off 219 what can sachin do if top 4 players except him make 7,6,9,0 ... decent contributions from others would have atleast saved us match

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63826.html 47 and 113 @ wellington in 1999 - our bowlers could not get last 4 wickets after having nz at 74 for 5 ??? - despite being 20 for 4 in 1st innings,sach's 113 could have made us win ..but our bowlers did not know how to get wickets

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63828.html 136 v/s pak getting india from 60 for 5 to 254 and our last 4 could not get 17 runs and managed just 5 runs ... this makes difference between sach's 136 and lara's 153 v/s aus .. ambrose and walsh stayed there for 63 runs with lara

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/345669.html chasing 299 india were 20 odd for 2 sachin made only 49 but it was the time he batted for that saved india the match

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/361050.html chasing 387 sachin made 103*

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/430881.html trailing by 334 , gambhir and sachin saved india this match

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/456671.html this match was won by vvs,sach and raina .Again sadly people only remember VVS 100 ,but sach got those 54 when india were in deep trouble at 49 for 3

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/464526.html agreed vvs played a gem .. but equally important was ishant and sach's contribution,sach was 2nd highest scorer with 38 ...highest scorer for ind in the match with 136 ... its just one bad shot which got sach out and check out vvs too played the same shot numerous times but there was no fielder to catch it and very next over sach hit one in air and was out ...

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    continued from earlier one

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63988.html chasing 408 sachin got 86 ...what about others ?

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63998.html trailing by 260 , india were 11 for 2 , people remember rd's 115 but forget sach's 92 which put england on defensive , it was saved by rd,sach and sg -but sadly people forget srt and sg's contribution

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64006.html people will remember vvs getting 154* but not sachin's 176 as match-saving

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64102.html again people will point to vvs 69 ,but again when india were reeling at 10 for 2 it was sachin who took attack to aussies and made an attacking 55 on pitch that was turning square ...Chasing 387 when viru gets quickfire 84 v/s eng ..its his knock which won match more than sachin's 103* .. but when sachin scores an attacking 55 ...its one who scores more wins the match ... right ?

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 11, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    mr vipin choodhary

    that link must have answered you sach's average v/s windies is not 42 as you suggested ,but its close to 60 ... sachin had played well against a windies team which had great bowlers .he did not get his average up against a winides bowling line up which had greats like adam sanford ,pedro collins,darren powell ... its for u to see who improved their records against windies post 2000 and became match winners. for your kind information while chasing 120, it was a collective failure & not sachin alone recently india got bowled out for 87 v/s nz in odi.atleast windies had great attack

    ... even the mighty aussies failed to score 107 against india at mumbai in 2004 - hayden,langer,ponting,martyn,clarke,gilchrist could not score 107 ?

    Agreed Sachin had a modest record against pak and saf . Still sach had scored a great 136 v/s pak only for his great teammates to lose . in his debut series sach batted at number 6 and still saved a test in company of sidhu from 38 for 4

  • POSTED BY ChenduPhali on | November 11, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    @venkat4018, you said it right mate. Agarkar still deserves a chance ahead of still inexperienced fast bowlers in Indian Team. He may have been expensive sometimes, but he was always a good wicket-taker and partnership-broker. Dravid used him quite well under his own captaincy. Dont know why Ganguly used to ignore and had ignored him many a times.God only can tell what Ganguly earned by taking Dinesh Mongia into the team ahead og Agarkar for world cup matches in 2003.

  • POSTED BY Rumy1 on | November 10, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • POSTED BY vipin.chaudhary2325 on | November 10, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    sachin is batting well in dis stage of his carrier in 4th innings. before 2008, c his record in 4th inning, just 2 centuries & 3 half centuries, how many matches did he won for India batting in 4th innings against Ambrose & walsh, Doland & Pollock, Wasim & shoaib blah blah blah. he is getting advantage of Virendra Sehwag, it was sehwag who make quick fire 83 against England when India chase 387, where was sachin when India were chasin 120 against west indies, why was India unable to win just a single test match outside Indian subcontinent in whole 1990's, what was sachin avarege against west indies & Africa before 2000- 33 against africa, 42 against west indies, 35 against pakistan, when murali wasn't a great bowler, sachin average against Lanka was around 90.. after 2000 sachin average against lanka was 40, thanx to series in 2010, which increase his average little bit, 10 time a debut bowler take sachin his first wicket, no worldcup, no champion trophy, sorry mate u r not match winer

  • POSTED BY venkat4018 on | November 10, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    Dear Cricinfo,

    My comment is nowhere near the article that you have posted. But I feel that the best way of expressing myself is CRICINFO (it has maximum viewers). I am a die hard fan of Ajit Agarkar. I am not ashamed to be so. He has the best fast bowling record for India in ODI. 288 wickets with a good average. Economic Rate is 5.07. Just see the ecomonic rates of Sreeshanth, Ishanth, Vinay Kumar, etc.. Agarkar is far better. He can bat better than Ravindra Jadeja. Fantastic Fielder with a super throwing arm. But people tend to forget him because he is inconsistent. Of course He is but just imaging all our fast bowlers leak runs in death. I want him back in Indian Team. I hope this article is read by many lovers and haters of agarkar. He has dismissed almost all top batsmen on the cricket. He has not given much opportunities except under Azarudin and Dravid. Dinesh Mongia was picked ahead of him for sheer Luck under Ganguly captaincy. Just give him a chance once for lifetime.

  • POSTED BY J_Jay on | November 10, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    @ vardarajan101 - Good work mate. Well done. Really it becomes a bit annoying and sad when we ignore SRT's contributions over 2 decades and start calling him selfish or record hungary. And what we throw at him every time is Lara's 153. That's it? This man has been a portrait of consistency, humility, hard work and dedication and has brought laurels to India around the world, and we kids start questioning his contributions. Guys he deserves a break. So what if he has a bad match. He is a human too and a much much better than us.

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63866.html 116 and 52 at mcg what do you expect sachin to do when all his great team mates don't want to put up a fight ? where were the match winners and savers ? why could they not register a single good knock then ?

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63919.html 76 and 65 at mumbai in 2001 series

    scorecards tell you the story

    there are 2 more centuries of sachin which won match but not rated as matchwinning because of sachin failing in 2nd innings - oh i should say because of umpiring blunders against sachin

    port of spain in 2001 - sach got 117 and then given out lbw for duck in 2nd - what can sachin do if umpires are hell bent in giving sach out wrongly

    again 3rd test of 2001 series v/s aussies in chennai sach got 124 in 1st innings and 17 in 2nd innings ...again sach was given out incorrectly 2nd time round off a no ball

    VVS got 50's and sach was said to fail in 2nd innings ;but what can sach do if umpires don't let him bat ?

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 21:46 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/464526.html 214 & 53* in next match ... not match winning ???

    here are some knocks where sachin's gems were wasted by his own team mates :-

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63713.html trailing by 99 ,sachin got 122 in 2nd innings out off 219 what can sachin do if top 4 players except him make 7,6,9,0 ... decent contributions from others would have atleast saved us match

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63826.html 47 and 113 @ wellington in 1999 - our bowlers could not get last 4 wickets after having nz at 74 for 5 ??? - despite being 20 for 4 in 1st innings,sach's 113 could have made us win ..but our bowlers did not know how to get wickets

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63828.html 136 v/s pak getting india from 60 for 5 to 254 and our last 4 could not get 17 runs and managed just 5 runs ... this makes difference between sach's 136 and lara's 153 v/s aus .. ambrose and walsh stayed there for 63 runs with lara

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/345669.html chasing 299 india were 20 odd for 2 sachin made only 49 but it was the time he batted for that saved india the match

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/361050.html chasing 387 sachin made 103*

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/430881.html trailing by 334 , gambhir and sachin saved india this match

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/456671.html this match was won by vvs,sach and raina .Again sadly people only remember VVS 100 ,but sach got those 54 when india were in deep trouble at 49 for 3

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/464526.html agreed vvs played a gem .. but equally important was ishant and sach's contribution,sach was 2nd highest scorer with 38 ...highest scorer for ind in the match with 136 ... its just one bad shot which got sach out and check out vvs too played the same shot numerous times but there was no fielder to catch it and very next over sach hit one in air and was out ...

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    continued from earlier one

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63988.html chasing 408 sachin got 86 ...what about others ?

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63998.html trailing by 260 , india were 11 for 2 , people remember rd's 115 but forget sach's 92 which put england on defensive , it was saved by rd,sach and sg -but sadly people forget srt and sg's contribution

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64006.html people will remember vvs getting 154* but not sachin's 176 as match-saving

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64102.html again people will point to vvs 69 ,but again when india were reeling at 10 for 2 it was sachin who took attack to aussies and made an attacking 55 on pitch that was turning square ...Chasing 387 when viru gets quickfire 84 v/s eng ..its his knock which won match more than sachin's 103* .. but when sachin scores an attacking 55 ...its one who scores more wins the match ... right ?

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    Harbhajan's batting is sheer entertainment. I am glad he got a century, because, as this writer points out - http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/11/importance-of-harbhajan-hundred.html - a hundred by him is more important than just a statistic.

  • POSTED BY vardarajan101 on | November 9, 2010, 20:38 GMT

    for sachin haters :-

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63535.html scores 68 and 119* to save the match when india required 408 to win and were 127 for 5

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63516.html scored 35 and 57 v/s the best bowling attack of 1990s . in 2nd innings 57 off 130 balls ,along with sidhu(97) sachin took india from 38 for 4 to 139 for 5 else pak would have required 150 to win and would have won it

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63660.html scored 34 and 85 . srinath also made 60 - india won the match because unlike many other matches sachin got support from tailenders just like vvs got from ishant/bhajji ...2nd ininngs 85 was made when india was 40 odd for 4 and 88 for 5 the bowling attack here was much better than mohali one or ahmedabad

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63794.html 155* of very best on turning chennai pitch

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63977.html chasing 126 india lost 6 wickets with sach scoring 42

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    @Vijayraghav I agree. That would be a wonderful XI.

  • POSTED BY pan_vtm76 on | November 9, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    At present Bajji is the TOP SCORER of this current series, ahead of all prominent Batsman....! Believe it........!

  • POSTED BY umeshgadhavi on | November 9, 2010, 19:04 GMT

    For those who have questioned The Great Sachin Tendulkar. Please give some time to go through these links in order to have an idea about how many matches Sachin has saved for India and for all other criticism which he regularly faces!

    http://sachinandcritics.com/ http://sachinandcritics.com/sachin_rec.php

  • POSTED BY Raj12345 on | November 9, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    Definitely Tendulkar is great batman & having many world records. But point is how many times he saved match for india. Yes many times he saved but not so many times. One reason is some guys not co-operating with him when want to save match that is how tendulkar's many 100's ending up with losing side. Also Temdulkar never excelled when he was captain, as a player you should able to take up stress, but he failed there and playing 20 years and he taken up only batting responsibility. There nay be valid reason from him and we should accept it.

    But it is not true that only Tendulkar faced and played well against fastest people. Already Srikanth showed against those bowlers and also against WI ones. He only showed cricket world, how to dominate bowlers in first 15 overs. When he retires from cricket, he had maximum runs in all format other Gavaskar.

    Also Laxman skills are always wasted by team india by not giving him much opportunities in other formats.

  • POSTED BY MasterfulStars on | November 9, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    It is always good if some one come up and win or Save Matches. Its nice to see people commenting about VVS and Bajji. But at the same time some of us should know how to respect guys Like Sachin. He has been the back bone of indian cricket for decades. The difference is when sachin scored in those days no one helped. Can anyone tell me whether a venkatesh Prasad or a Javagal srinath played like the current lots of Bajji and ZAK? Very few matches they helped. Even the batting was ordinary on those days except Azhar. Sachin is the greatest of all our Batsman. Please dont keep saying he plays for records. Think of the situation and post your comments.Who scored against SL in a test few months back when india was struggling. Sachin scored a double hundred. It was always been sachin. Without Sachin India could not have gone to the finals of 2003 WC in SA. Everyone is great in their own way. But mind that sachin is greatest.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | November 9, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Sourav Ganguly wanted to build a young team and create a new spirit in Team India which he and Wright did successfully. The strategy sometimes backfires for somebody and that person has to miss out, just like Badrinath is a non-existent person in Indian Cricket for more than a decade now. At least Laxman has got good deal in Tests. Sourav was in good form in tests but he retired first so that other Fab 3 can play as long as they can. What do the critics say about this! It's clearly not the case that Sourav retired as he had to. He gave a chance to a youngster by even retiring hemself from Test Cricket. True, Laxman missed out a world cup and captaincy, he really deserved the former. But, looking at the transformation Team India has gone through right from 2000, he won't mind that. And, who played match winning and match saving innings from 1990 to 2000 (Its just that Laxman plays so well now)? It was Sachin, the same person some wisemen now criticize as a person who plays for stats!

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 17:00 GMT

    my question is how many matches tendulkar won or atleast saved india from losing ?? tendulkar is never match winner or match saver..

  • POSTED BY triassicpark on | November 9, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    Well done to Laxman and Bajji. This reader 'wiseshah' has really given me 5 mins of good health. That is good laughter. as another correctly pointed out these kind of comments should be barred. I know cricinfo is quite moderate in allowing comments, nevertheless stupid space filling rubbish cannot be tolerated. Enough has been said about Laxman's greatness and his calm approach and I am a big fan of Laxman no doubt. But looking at Tendulkar in an inferior vein is merely foolhardy.

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | November 9, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    @Wiseshah : That is India for you. People would not have bothered if India lost the match, but SRT got century # 50. The press and TV channels and of course Cricinfo would have highlighted that only. Tragic.

  • POSTED BY gargi_vizag on | November 9, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    VVS is a gem and an great gift to Indian cricket.....for a player who has batted at No.6 for most of his career averaging at almost 48 is an tremendous achievement. And the way he bats with tailenders is just superb.....wish he can continue forever...

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | November 9, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    t was not surprising to see the Kiwis play as well as they did in the first Test. I am totally surprised at how a team having in its ranks Macallum, Vetori and Ross Taylor Ryder and Williamson can be said to be ordinary. The Bangladesh experience was an aberration and could have hapenned to any other team considering how well the Tigers have been playing in recent times.New Zealand have a future star in Kane Williamson as we saw. Other than these they also have Watling and Mckintosh who have done well in Tests back home. Jeetan Patel is a better spin bowler than given credit for. It is unfortunate that Bennet is injured. He would have been a handful on the bouncy tracks at Hyderabad and Nagpur. I feel it is the media that has given them this underdog image. I am sure they will do very well in the coming matches. In my opinion they have a ver fine team for the tests and will hold their own against anyone anywhere in the world.

  • POSTED BY mohsin9975 on | November 9, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    Thats why india is d most controversial no.1 test side.India has had a bad habit matching the opposition.Be it aus or bang sa or nz.They will never dominate any opposition.Cant maintain high standards consistently which peculiar to all asian teams

  • POSTED BY --.-- on | November 9, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    "@wiseshah FYI Sachin saved a test in his debut series itself against the likes of Imran,Wasim,Waqar and Quadir (which is also the bowling line up of Pak all-time XI) after being hit in the face by a bouncer from Waqar(who was the fastest bowler in the world then). His shirt was blood soaked and he didn't even take any medication and played through pain for hours to save the test. He was 16 years then. Incidentally his debut century in Old Trafford was also a second innings match saving effort. Two match saving efforts in his first year of cricket. Cricinfo needs to block these trolls from posting comments."

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    Will New Zealand ever win a Test Match if they can't close it out after India were 15/5! Well done to Harbajhan and Laxman, always the match saver

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    laga raho bhajji! Great work by nawab of Hyderbad

  • POSTED BY Rumy1 on | November 9, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • POSTED BY chaitukash79 on | November 9, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    The whole world has gone "hip-hop" and "street" so why not cricinfo?! But using words such as ballsy and ballsiness is just lousy sports journalism. Come on guys.. get professional.

  • POSTED BY Proteas123 on | November 9, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    This match shows Indian players have let the number one ranking go to their heads. NZ should never have been so under estimated. Luckily Laxxman could save the game. Maybe this is a good wake up call for SA tour. @ wiseshah - You make a good point, Sachin plays for stats but Laxman much better in a crissis.

  • POSTED BY Rumy1 on | November 9, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • POSTED BY YGSR on | November 9, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    Laxman hasn't yet captained India and for the record he must end his career as an ex-captain also like the Bordes, GR Vishwanaths, Ravi Shastris and so on. It will be most appropriate if he is officially asked to lead India in the next test match at Hyderabad which is also his home ground and hosting a test match for the first time. MS Dhoni shouldn't mind at all missing out captaincy for the Hyderabad test. BCCI and selectors must act quick and smart here and ensure that they give due respect to the man who really deserves it not just on his merit but also for his contribution to India's cause time and again.

  • POSTED BY cgkirtikar on | November 9, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Well played Laxman and harbhajan !! I think the best thing about this team, is the ability for someone or the other to put their hand up and say, ' I am gonna defend this team's winning record' The familiar faces of Laxman, Sachin, Rahul, Dhoni, Sehwag being one part, but its the pure guts on the part of lesser endowed batsmen like Bhajji, Ishant, Zaheer and even Ojha to put up a fight and never let go, that is defining this team more than anything else. Well done team India. Finally there is some consistency in results. Someone or the other in the opposition is bound to come up with a whirlwind knock or great spell. Its how the team regroups despite that and wins / battles that is exhilarating to watch. Its what defined the Aussie team in the last decade. They always found somebody they could count on ! This team is aspiring to go the same way. Great job guys !

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    @wiseshah FYI Sachin saved a test in his debut series itself against the likes of Imran,Wasim,Waqar and Quadir (which is also the bowling line up of Pak all-time XI) after being hit in the face by a bouncer from Waqar(who was the fastest bowler in the world then). His shirt was blood soaked and he didn't even take any medication and played through pain for hours to save the test. He was 16 years then. Incidentally his debut century in Old Trafford was also a second innings match saving effort. Two match saving efforts in his first year of cricket. Cricinfo needs to block these trolls from posting comments.

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | November 9, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    LOL@ Sivaram Parthasarathy: Point taken Sir, but what about "Dude"? Is that gentlemanly? We don't even know if this was a "dude" or a "dudette" that wrote this. Personally, I would have preferred "gumption" over "ballsiness". Hard to hide paucity in one's vocabulary!

  • POSTED BY kewlkanna on | November 9, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Nice article mate! Yes, Laxman has been our crisis man since many years. He has been the most reliable match winner/match saver after Dravid. Test match is no where comparable to any other form of cricket, test matches test a players stamina, patience and maturity, if he passes this then he is a true CRICKETER and Laxman is definitely one of them. Kudos to the most underrated high quality test player every.

  • POSTED BY mahi678 on | November 9, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    hey they batted well. hats off.

    we should have won the match. if it is declared a bit earlier and if they tried to score fast at the end. i dont know why dhoni does not have winning attitude. see all the wins of india recent past are the performances of 3(sachin,sehwag,laxman). dhoni has no role to play. better need a good positive captain!

  • POSTED BY vjayraghav on | November 9, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    for next match ahead, pujara in place of raina, vijay in place of gambhir... ishant in place of sreesanth.... will be a gud XI..

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    @all Good to praise others. But I won't ever blame Dravid or Sachin for not playing for the team or saving from a crisis. The fact remains that if these people fire, there is no crisis. And crisis exists only if they fail...Stop blaming the proven stars for selfishness..

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | November 9, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    India to be at top still makes me wonder. Whether to blame pitches or bowlers ineffectiveness. No one is surely dependant at the moment except VVS. Tendulkar to some extent but others they can come and get out any moment. In the bowling Ojha is comming good.

  • POSTED BY rachits on | November 9, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    @wiseshah: ur comment dsnt even deserve a response. a computer and internet connection does not guarantee a thinking brain...i guess u prove that! and to everyone else...i knw laxman is a great batsman, he is wristy n elegant, and has an absolutely brilliant second innings average...but but but, i always thot his second innings heroics were extremely lucky! not lucky in his batting, but the fact that the tailenders stuck arnd with him. if u observe, he hardly ever farms the strike...willing to expose the number ten also for an entire over. its good to say thats his style and he has confidence but i mean wen batting with the tailenders u need to take majority of the strike! even in the test against aus, ishant faced more balls than him, and had he got out, where wud laxman and his superman innings be? again, maybe i'm jst being over critical, but i think wenever he has saved or won a match, the tailender has to be appreciated more! :)

  • POSTED BY Pathiyal on | November 9, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    sadly, the only crisis man for india. may be he has a different outlook of the contest! he is so admirable

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    I think there is no topic to talk about tendulkar..he is great and always will be great..Yes, match saved by Laxman and Harbhajan..Laxman is a tremendous batsman..Harbhajan is also a good player to watch and they both saved the match..but this doesn't mean that tendulkar is not a match saver or a good batsman..he is the man about which the words are small to describe him..He is the little champ..and Indias love him.

  • POSTED BY Razor88 on | November 9, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    laxman is best as ever... Bhaji showed he can bat,if he continues to play like that he might be the allrounder for the tests atleast,which we needed badly.. Jus awesome i have no words... Mohali first then Now.. shows INDIA SHOULD NOT BE COUNTED OUT UNTILL THE LAST BALL IS BOWLED.where are all the critics ??? who were yaping abt How bad india were.. I guess they must have seen the Only 30 Mins in which India Collapsed... Only a Champion Team can Bounce back from Brink of Defeat.. India has Proved.I will Echo Gary's words."we don't need to prove anything more.we were the Most consistent team since 2008 and the Ranking Reflects the Hardworking by the Players".Kiwi needs to rethink if they are to give some Occasional Scares like that... Only martin was threatening... the Next match will be Ideal.. No one knows how the Pitch will Turn out,it is alienated for indians as well,another way to shut critics and Continue Domination... this is the Difference between a Good team and Number Uno.

  • POSTED BY thebrownie on | November 9, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Passionate and Sarang: Just because I dont agree to one line in the article does not mean I am criticizing Laxman. Against a very ordinary attack, on a lifeless track both Sachin and Laxman were guilty of very slow scoring in the first innings. And Laxman didn't score any faster in the second either. But the article suggests otherwise. Read the article and what I wrote before getting your knickers in a twist.

  • POSTED BY cricfave on | November 9, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    I am surprised to see, of late, an increase in the number of articles/ write-ups on Cricinfo without a byline (like this one, for instance). I can understand that when there is some breaking news story or when there is some current news item being reported after picking it up from another published source but not when there is original writing. If more than one cricinfo writer has provided inputs, the byline could be shared. Attributing articles to ESPNcricinfo staff should be reduced to the minimum. Please take ownership and allow fans to appreciate and acknowledge the writing of specific staff/individuals.

  • POSTED BY swiftsid on | November 9, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    @wiseshah

    Just because Laxman has made a reputation as a 4th innings man doesn't mean that the accomplishments of others can be belittled.

    Most of Tendulkar's better performances have come in winning situations. How can you win in the 4th inning if a Sehwag or Tendulkar doesn't set you up in the 1st inning? Yes, 4th innings are defining moments but it doesn't render other performances worthless.

    That's like watching a game of football and saying only the game winning goal in a 2-1 match matters. If the first goal isn't scored, it's only a tie.

    Cheers.

  • POSTED BY wiseshah on | November 9, 2010, 2:13 GMT

    laxman is always a crisis man like mike hussey and mike bevan or lance klusener. my question is how many matches tendulkar won or atleast saved india from losing. i am sure those you can count so easily. final; tendulkar is never match winner or match saver.

  • POSTED BY kumarcoolbuddy on | November 9, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    Yes why everyone is focussing on UDRS inspite of third umpire. Anyway if decision is being taken out of field umpire's hand then why only UDRS and why not third umpire. Third umpire decision is helpful in atleast avoiding the extra costs.

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    nice batting from bhajji and laxman but all credits go to dhoni again cant even perform anymore its time for new captain. kapil dev won us world cup last time as an allrounder. so i think we need another allrounder captain. (shewag, bhajji or yuvraj.) dhoni is good for nothing. i dont even remember when he really scored something big. selectors plz wake up and bring uthappa & pathan borthers in team before its too late. they were in the team when we won last 20/20 world cup too.

  • POSTED BY on | November 9, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    For those who are criticizing Laxman please look at his ODI centuries (http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/30750.html?class=2;orderby=batted_score;template=results;type=batting;view=innings). He scored 3 odi centuries (odi# 2084,2086,2087) within a week in Australia and he was out only once. I agree with OP that Ganguly ruined his ODI career.His Strike Rate is 90+ in 2 innings and 80+ in other inning.

  • POSTED BY mike5181 on | November 8, 2010, 23:20 GMT

    I think India probably need to give Vijay a spell at the top so Gambhir can regain some form...Maybe bring in Pujara and Ishant as well? NZ need more bowlers obviously which is why they brought Franklin, he can bowl and bat which allows them to play another bowler like Mckay. There should also be a straight swap of Macintosh for Guptill. So NZ team should be 1.McCullum 2.Watling 3.Guptill 4.Taylor 5.Ryder 6.Williamson 7.Vettori 8.Franklin 9.Hopkins 10.Mckay 11.Martin- Watling to me is close to being dropped as well but i dont think there is anyone in the squad that can cover him. That to me is a better team Patel is probably unlucky..but i guess it depends on the pitch for the next game.

  • POSTED BY wolf777 on | November 8, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    Good knock. However, need to take wickets as well.

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 22:12 GMT

    I'm (like many other) not able to understand the hype over UDRS. You just have to ask third umpire in case of close decision or the third umpire has the right to interrupt and overrule the ground umpire's decision. Why make the system more complicated by involving LBW's as it is the only factor that requires use of Hawkeye and slo-mo cameras. It looks to me just a scheme by the technology co. to sell their products. Already the television broadcasters in India cry about high overhead costs, bringing UDRS into play will result into more and more ads covering our TV screen. I wonder if a day would come when ads would be played even during two deliveries. How pathetic these people are who knows the reason and still ask for answers. Take for example the pitches and match attendance. Good pitches could be prepared but Indian Captain would than feel uncomfortable(read Ganguly's australia tour debacle) and match attendance could be improved by good sitting and toilet facilities.

  • POSTED BY passionate_cricket_follower on | November 8, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    @thebrownie: test cricket is not about a strike rate of 200. at least not when u play to save a match. if u wanna strike rate, test cricket's not for u. plz quit watching it, and watch t20 instead. laxman is one of the best batsman India's ever produced. has it not been the politics of Ganguly and co, he'd have a very prolific ODI career as well. i admire Ganguly as a player and captain, but m sorry to say, ruining he played a part in ruining Laxman's ODI career. he did this because Laxman was the only threat to his captancy at that moment in early 2000.

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 21:43 GMT

    @ thebrownie:

    Laxman's test strike rate is 49.28 (which is really good any test player who scored more than 7000 runs and played 100+ tests)

    stats speaks itself for him

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Nice article. Captured essence of all the batsmen mentioned.

  • POSTED BY desibabu90 on | November 8, 2010, 21:17 GMT

    india would have won, had it not been for BCCIs stupidity and arrogance on the use of UDRS. Williamson went on to hit a century he could have easily been referred out..the pressure we brought on ourselves was unnecessary and the collapse proved that we are still not the team that could dominate any team like the West Indians and Aussies of yesteryears.

  • POSTED BY ash0602 on | November 8, 2010, 20:53 GMT

    Very well description of the heroes of cricketing world, reading it seems like watching them playing in front of you. Salute to such a great analyst (the author) of the game.

  • POSTED BY Gulshan_Grover on | November 8, 2010, 20:41 GMT

    RD in same situation will run out 2-3 partners, look ever so serious, play technically correct and not score any run for long period of time. Hence create increasing pressure on himself and others which will result in couple of dismissals and then the anticlimax! He will knick one to the keeper.

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    Its performances like these that define the character of a team. Clearly that is the reason India's way ahead of the rest of the bunch. Hope people realise

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    ballsy and ballsines? Dude, mind the language. Besides cricket, guess circinfo has a lot of respect for its articles portraying the culture and literature associated with the game..

  • POSTED BY ichliebecricket on | November 8, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    Brilliant work by both Laxman and Bhajji but you have got to feel for the bowlers of both sides. A terrible pitch, sparse crowds....BCCI should really have a re-think where the test matches in india are held. Places like Ahmedabad should be awarded only ODI'd or T20's where there is a run feast and everybody is happy. I hope Hyderabad is better as far as the wicket is concerned.

  • POSTED BY thebrownie on | November 8, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    the singles are always flowing, the gaps are found repeatedly, and his face is calm - probably why his strike rate was in the 30s.

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  • POSTED BY thebrownie on | November 8, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    the singles are always flowing, the gaps are found repeatedly, and his face is calm - probably why his strike rate was in the 30s.

  • POSTED BY ichliebecricket on | November 8, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    Brilliant work by both Laxman and Bhajji but you have got to feel for the bowlers of both sides. A terrible pitch, sparse crowds....BCCI should really have a re-think where the test matches in india are held. Places like Ahmedabad should be awarded only ODI'd or T20's where there is a run feast and everybody is happy. I hope Hyderabad is better as far as the wicket is concerned.

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    ballsy and ballsines? Dude, mind the language. Besides cricket, guess circinfo has a lot of respect for its articles portraying the culture and literature associated with the game..

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    Its performances like these that define the character of a team. Clearly that is the reason India's way ahead of the rest of the bunch. Hope people realise

  • POSTED BY Gulshan_Grover on | November 8, 2010, 20:41 GMT

    RD in same situation will run out 2-3 partners, look ever so serious, play technically correct and not score any run for long period of time. Hence create increasing pressure on himself and others which will result in couple of dismissals and then the anticlimax! He will knick one to the keeper.

  • POSTED BY ash0602 on | November 8, 2010, 20:53 GMT

    Very well description of the heroes of cricketing world, reading it seems like watching them playing in front of you. Salute to such a great analyst (the author) of the game.

  • POSTED BY desibabu90 on | November 8, 2010, 21:17 GMT

    india would have won, had it not been for BCCIs stupidity and arrogance on the use of UDRS. Williamson went on to hit a century he could have easily been referred out..the pressure we brought on ourselves was unnecessary and the collapse proved that we are still not the team that could dominate any team like the West Indians and Aussies of yesteryears.

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Nice article. Captured essence of all the batsmen mentioned.

  • POSTED BY on | November 8, 2010, 21:43 GMT

    @ thebrownie:

    Laxman's test strike rate is 49.28 (which is really good any test player who scored more than 7000 runs and played 100+ tests)

    stats speaks itself for him

  • POSTED BY passionate_cricket_follower on | November 8, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    @thebrownie: test cricket is not about a strike rate of 200. at least not when u play to save a match. if u wanna strike rate, test cricket's not for u. plz quit watching it, and watch t20 instead. laxman is one of the best batsman India's ever produced. has it not been the politics of Ganguly and co, he'd have a very prolific ODI career as well. i admire Ganguly as a player and captain, but m sorry to say, ruining he played a part in ruining Laxman's ODI career. he did this because Laxman was the only threat to his captancy at that moment in early 2000.