South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day January 5, 2011

Harbhajan rues lack of support from seamers

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On a day that Harbhajan Singh registered his best bowling figures outside India, 7 for 120, he was a subdued man. His early burst - at one point his figures read 4 for 10 - had put India in a commanding position, but a combination of brilliance from Jacques Kallis and some uninspiring stuff from India in the field took South Africa from 130 for 6 to 341. Harbhajan had the look of a man who knew that India's best chance of winning a series in South Africa had now turned into a situation from where they will need to play really well to even come out with a 1-1 result.

"Happy I got wickets, but not happy that Kallis scored a hundred," Harbhajan said. "At one stage we were in a very good position, but from there onwards they batted well but we could still have created more chances by bowling well. We didn't bowl as well as we should have."

Harbhajan rued the lack of support from the seamers. "I don't know what the plan was," he said. "I think we could have created more chances throughout the day with our fast bowling. We didn't bowl the right lengths. That's what I felt. I am not being critical, just giving my honest opinion. We could have created more chances with our seamers. If you see, their [South Africa's] seamers have taken most of their wickets. There was still a lot of bounce and carry in the wicket, but I think we didn't bowl as well as we could have."

Harbhajan - in the first half of his effort - used the rough outside the right-hand batsman's off stump pretty well. The patch was helpful, but it was wide outside off, so it took some effort to exploit it. "There is rough, and I think I have hit a lot of balls in the rough," Harbhajan said. "When you are new as a batsman, it is difficult to play from there, but once you are in then you get the idea of how much it is bouncing and spinning. Otherwise from the middle, nothing much is happening for the spinner, but there is definitely rough and if any offspinner bowls there, he will get a lot of spin and bounce."

Harbhajan, though, didn't have any answers for Kallis' innings. He said he hasn't seen many batsmen respond so well to a tough situation, connecting with the reverse-sweep so often and so cleanly. He called Kallis the best player in the world after Sachin Tendulkar. However, the way Kallis batted gave him and India hope.

"The wicket is still very good," he said "If you get in, there are a lot of runs. It has become better to bat on. New ball will be crucial. We have all seen how well Dale Steyn has bowled. We will have to bat well up front, then let's see how to go about it."

Going into the last day of what has been a highly competitive series, India need 340 runs with all their wickets in hand. "Our approach - to be honest - will be to see off the first hour," Harbhajan said. "If we play the new ball well…of course we need some fireworks from Virender Sehwag, if he gets going, anything is chaseable. This is a fast ground where a lot of runs can be scored. I hope Viru clicks tomorrow and gives us a good start. Hundred for no loss will be a good start, I hope we get that. New ball will be crucial."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vpk23 on January 6, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    HI BAJJI...FIRSTLY GREAT JOB FOR THE 7FER...BY THE WAY WHERE WHERE YOU WHEN THE SEAMERS WERE DOING GREAT??..

  • peterss on January 6, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    Harbhajan takes wickets once every 10 games and when he does that once in a bluemoon, he starts complaining about his team bowlers that he has no support.... He always fails to provide support most of the time. He should look at himself first before giving press conferences.

  • karzy977 on January 6, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    hey camon guys all are praising bajji just for one fivefor for a long time , and more for his batting , give me a break , he is useless in flat track , i think its time to say that ashwin is the best spinner in india at the moment , (just like mendis in his early days,he may get wacked after few matches when guys play him more ) so he needs to play test immediatly , but it seems he will play only after bajji retires , just like warne and macgill case .

  • Cricket_4_Blood on January 6, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    Harbhajan will now have some badji for snacks, sit in the dressing & watch India lose & after the match at the press he will complain about the batsmen for giving away the match. Poor losers criticizing their own players.

  • dummy4fb on January 6, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    irrespective of the outcome of this test match, I believe indian seamers r still way behind befiting the numero uno staus. Not bcos they lost the plot yesterday, this has happened b4 to other teams as well[SA vs Eng, Aus vs Ind recently]where better attacks than this forfeited the advantage. Having said so, the ball is in batsmen court to show their mettle. Its a daunting task. But reflecting back on this series, india forfeited the advtage on more occasions than SA[Barring ist session in centurion]. By the way kudos to kallis for a great batting effort.

  • vinjoy on January 6, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    I predict another instance when RD stands up finally. Dravid not out at 134 and India 288 for 6. Match drawn and series drawn.

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on January 6, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    sachin's fourth innings avg is dismal. he's also never scored a century in both innings of a test. this is the match all that should change....because if not now then when?

  • justk on January 6, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    there is a tendency to blow up the performance of africans if they are doing something good...what people have missed out here is the fact that this is a pitch of 4th batting and the side batting second has more chances of success..and also, it is more like an indian pitch now..and we all know that steyn is a HTB, helpful track bowlers..and paul harris is a joke in reality..let us see how africans bowlers will target indians,as africa is known to play for draw more

  • KALPANA. on January 6, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    AS OF NOW...I GUESS INDIA WILL SOMEHOW MAKE IT A DRAW..OR FOLD BADLY IN THE HANDS OF STEYN AND MORKEL..!!!!

  • Srini_india on January 6, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    No chance of India winning...we cant survive the pace attack...the lone hope is viru..and he is not doing well...best to lose hope

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