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July 19, 2008
With a restrained knock of 58 not out, Dinesh Karthik made a strong case to be included in the first Test against Sri Lanka next week. His innings helped India recover from a shaky 80 for 5 to 196 for 8 at stumps on the second day of their three-day practice match against a Sri Lanka Board XI.
In pulling India out from an embarrassing position, he was assisted by Sachin Tendulkar, with the pair putting on a 62-run sixth-wicket partnership. "It's a great feeling batting with Sachin in the middle," Karthik said at the end of the day. "It doesn't get better than playing with the best batsman in the world.
"It is always helpful if you start the innings with a player like Sachin. He gives you confidence and tells you how to pace your innings," Karthik said. "He was telling me to take my time and play. It was not a wicket where you can come and start playing shots. I was trying to do that."
Karthik, 23, is fighting for a place in the Test team with Parthiv Patel, and knows the importance of making the most of his chances. "It's a great opportunity for me to establish myself in the Test side if I can get some runs. But most important I know it's one of the few opportunities which I'll get," he said. "I was a little surprised when I was selected and now I am trying to make the best use of it."
The emergence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni has reduced Karthik's chances of making the Test side as a wicketkeeper - in nearly three years, he has played only two Tests as a keeper. "When you play for India there is always pressure, more so for wicketkeepers because Dhoni has set such high standards that to get into the team itself is a great thing," he said. "I know I can get into the team as a batsman so it's important that I get a lot of runs so that I am there in the thick of things."