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Streak getting practice as an opener

Heath Streak has said the frequent top order collapses of his side were forcing him to assume the role of an opening batsman. At the close of play on the second day at Harare, Zimbabwe stumbled to 39 for 4.

"Most of the time I am in when Irfan [Pathan] and Zaheer [Khan] still have the new ball in their hands," Streak told reporters at the end of the second day. He added in a lighter vein: "I am getting trained to be a good opening batsman."

Streak, who took six Indian wickets in the first innings, had to witness another Zimbabwean batting failure as the first four wickets fell with only 21 runs on the board, forcing him to return to the field with bat in hand.

Speaking of Zimbabwe's bowling today, he said the side had been disappointed with their efforts yesterday, and were determined to put up a better show today. And they did just that, by taking nine wickets for 171 runs in 64.4 overs.

"We had much better plans today and kept up the pressure with positive field settings and bowling to one side of the wicket," Streak said. "We have to get throught the new ball tomorrow and bat positively from there."

Meanwhile, Rahul Dravid was delighted with his innings of 98, despite falling short of what would have been his 21st Test hundred. "It was one of my most difficult innings, a hard fought one, a grinding one of sorts. It's not an easy wicket to bat on. It's stopping a bit more, seaming a bit more and if the bowler hit the right areas, there is lateral movement.

"The wicket seems to have firmed up since the first day and it's not an easy wicket to play your shots on."

Dravid said it was his eagerness which cost him his hundred, rather than a lapse in concentration, when he was bowled for 98. "It was disappointing as it would have been a nice hundred to have. More than the concentration, it was my eagerness which cost me my hundred. I probably went across too much and hurried on to my shot."

Dravid said that unlike Bulawayo, it was a different wicket and he needed to adjust his methods accordingly.

"It was a very different wicket from Bulawayo which was flat and where you could trust yourself a bit more. But still, it was equally satisfying here. However, even when their change bowlers came, they bowled the good right areas and there wasn't much breathing space till after lunch," he added.

"We lost a few wickets and we needed to bat on and put up a decent score on the board. So I had to play differently."

Dravid praised Heath Streak for the quality of his bowling and said he needed watching all day.

"He wasn't easy to negotiate at any point of time, especially with the second new ball when he bowled a searching spell."

Dravid picked up a catch in Zimbabwe's second innings which gave him three in the match, and an overall tally of 127 catches, the best among Indians and is on course to overtake Mark Waugh's tally of 161 catches.

"Greg Chappell and Ian Frazer have focused very hard on fielding. We have taken some good catches and hopefully we would keep doing it. It's important [that] when you get chances you need to hold on to [them], especially against good teams."