India v South Africa, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 5th day

We wanted to be No.1 - Harbhajan Singh

Cricinfo staff

February 18, 2010

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Harbhajan Singh sets off in celebration, India v South Africa, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 5th day, February 18, 2010
The Eden Gardens has been a happy hunting ground for Harbhajan Singh © Getty Images
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Harbhajan Singh, whose five-for won India a tense game against South Africa, has said their hunger to retain the No.1 ranking motivated them in their spirited comeback in Kolkata after an innings-defeat in the first Test in Nagpur. "We wanted to be at the top of the table; we know we have the players to keep being No 1," Harbhajan said after the game. "We are very happy and it's fantastic to win the way we did. The heart was pumping in the end."

Harbhajan, who has a tremendous record at the Eden Gardens with 46 wickets in seven Tests at 21.76, kept picking wickets at crucial moments for India amid a determined South African resistance led by Hashim Amla's heroic, unbeaten 127. His effort was significant, for India were without Zaheer Khan, who pulled his muscle to be ruled out of the Test as well as the subsequent ODI series.

"This was probably a better wicket than Nagpur. We played fantastic cricket , the way we bowled on the first day and the way we batted. Today we just bowled with three bowlers but have done the job," Harbhajan said. "Eden has been special to me. I don't know what it but I have done well here always."

Hashim Amla, adjudged both man of the match and of the series, ended up unbeaten on 123. "I am feeling tired," he said after the game. "I am very disappointed in losing this game. We could have saved it; there wasn't anything unplayable in the wicket."

Amla's vigil - he batted for more than six hours - ended when Morkel was out after a last-wicket stand lasting more than 20 overs. "Morne and I were just having some fun out there. He played really well and so did Parnell earlier. Fortunately, Morne and Parnell are decent batsmen and took lots of pressure of me."

Amla ended the series with 490 runs, and one dismissal, and was the most influential batsman on either team. "I am being just grateful that I have had a good tour," he said. "I now have the one-dayers to look forward to."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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