Port of Spain: Despite a fine run of the consecutive half-centuries, the stylish V V S Laxman was a terribly disappointed man as his dismissal came at a critical juncture in the second Test on Monday.
"I am surely disappointed," said Laxman. "I was also a bit unlucky as it took the inside edge of my bat and crashed on to my stumps." Laxman has been batting consistently in the series, having already scored three successive half-centuries. He scored 69 in the drawn opening Test at Georgetown, an unbeaten 69 in the first innings and 74 in the second here. "Right from the start of the tour, I've been driving the ball well," said Laxman, who has scored just two centuries in 32 Tests. Mervyn Dillon bowled Laxman for 74 after putting on 149 runs for the fifth wicket with his captain Saurav Ganguly and it triggered an Indian collapse as it lost its last six wickets for the addition of only 13 runs. "It would have been great if I had stayed on. Saurav was batting so well at the other end," said Laxman.
"We should have had at least 400 up on the board and now the first session of the last day's play is critically important." West Indies, set 313 to win, needs 182 runs from the final day's play with eight wickets remaining, including the one of great Brian Lara, unbeaten on 40. "The wicket is not easy to play your shots on, there is difficulty in stroking the ball. If you keep the ball in the right place, it is difficult to get runs," said Laxman. "The form is ok, but I'd like to translate that into big scores. I think I had the opportunity to get big scores in the first Test as well as today. Hopefully, I'll do that in the remaining three Tests." Laxman said India had a chance to put pressure on the West Indies on the fifth and final day on Tuesday.
"The first session of the last day will be very important. Our bowlers are doing a great job and if we keep the ball in the right place, it'll be difficult to get runs." Laxman was happy with his form in the series during which he has run up scores of 69, 69 not out and 74 in three innings. "I have been timing the ball well right from the start of the series," he said. "My form is okay but I would like to translate it into a few big scores. There are still three Tests left in the series and hopefully before we are through, I would have been able to make a few big scores."
It was a great honour for him to play alongside batsmen of the calibre of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly, Laxman said. "They are class players and have proved their worth time and again. I feel great to play alongside them." He said the wickets in the West Indies today are no different from the ones he faced way back in 1997. The conditions are not much different now. If anything, the wickets are slower. "Last time I was here as an opener but now I am back in the middle order. It is a position I have always enjoyed batting in," said the stylish Hyderabadi. Inevitably, asked to comment on his knock of 281 against Australia in Kolkata during the 2000-2001 series, Laxman, ever a modest person, gave Dravid a great deal of credit for the astonishing partnership which changed the course of the match and the series.
"Dravid was a great help and inspiration from the other end," said Laxman. "But that is history and I would like to bat well and long enough to contribute in my team's success."