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November 8, 2010
Harbhajan Singh has said that India's effort to save this Test from the depths of 5 for 15 in their second innings showed why they are the top-ranked Test side in the world. "This is what the No. 1 team can do; anyone can come and perform. We believe in each other. Everyone felt that if Ishant [Sharma] and VVS Laxman can win the game in Mohali, why can't Harbhajan Singh go out and make 60-odd, and Laxman score 150 for team India and save the game?
We have lots of self belief and that's why we are the No. 1 side."
Harbhajan won the Man-of-the-Match award for his batting exploits, something he never dreamed he would do in a Test. "May be in the one-dayers I thought I can get a chance to go up the order, slog a few, get a quick 50-odd and be the Man of the Match.
He also felt that Chris Martin was the real Man of the Match for his devastating spell on the fourth day. "Hats off to this guy (Martin) for he bowled his heart out on this flat wicket. For me he is the Man of the Match; to take five wickets on this pitch was something really special."
Harbhajan has talked in the past about his team-mates have always believed he could get a Test hundred, and they shared his joy after he finally reached the landmark. "Now I know how it feels to get a hundred. I was really thrilled and excited. It helped us save the Test. You must have seen how the players were enjoying each other's success. When I got my hundred everyone was in the balcony to support me. That was a great sign."
He was effusive in his praise for Laxman. "Sankat-morchan toh Laxman hi hai (Laxman is the man for a crisis). I was just supporting him. He was the reason I got my hundred; He kept saying I am batting really well and to concentrate this over, then the next over and then the next. If he was not on the other side, things could have been different. He batted superbly. He was little unlucky with his decision, else he would have got his hundred as well."
Both Laxman and Zaheer Khan fell to poor umpiring decisions today, and Harbhajan was asked his opinion on the Umpire Decision Review System. "As a bowler, I don't mind if that system comes. We had it in Sri Lanka and I quite liked it as I got couple of wickets. But I am no one to decide on this. Big people decide; my job is to just bowl, bat, and field. That's the best I can do."
Harbhajan said a lot of the credit for his innings should go to Laxman, who told him what shots to play and what shots not to play. "He told me to not to play on-the-rise shots; that was the only thing I looked to avoid on this pitch. I was just waiting for the right kind of ball in my area where I was comfortable to hit my shots."
The lifeless pitch was reason why India decided not to declare and push for the win. Daniel [Vettori] bowled 35-36 overs to take two wickets. And you saw the replays of them to see what sort of decisions they were. There was nothing in the pitch. We made the right decision of not declaring."
Harbhajan also reiterated his pre-match statements that New Zealand are a good side, saying one bad series doesn't make them a bad side. "I think it [the performance in Bangladesh] was over-hyped in New Zealand. We also lost to Bangladesh in the World Cup. That doesn't make us a bad team. When two teams play, one will win and one will lose."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth
Plays of the Day from the third ODI between India and West Indies, in Kanpur