Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- ~~India has the edge over Pak in Test series~~

Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar said India enjoyed a psychological edge going into their first Test series in almost 15 years on Pakistani soil.

"The One-day victory will be a great morale-booster and the return of the experienced (Anil) Kumble, the energetic Ajit Agarkar and the phlegmatic Akash Chopra will only strengthen this Indian team," Gavaskar wrote in his column in leading Indian daily 'Hindustan Times'.

Leg-spinner Kumble, seamer Agarkar and opener Chopra have joined the team for the three-match series starting at Multan on Sunday. India clinched the preceding One-day series 3-2 with a 40-run win in the decider at Lahore on Wednesday.

"The Pakistanis will be under pressure from their supporters to perform. The Indians need to capitalise and do what past Indian teams have been unable to do and that is win a Test series in Pakistan," wrote Gavaskar.

Stylish batsman Venkatsai Laxman, who scored a superb century (107) in the deciding match, came in for special praise from Gavaskar.

"Full credit to Laxman, who took his time to settle down and then displayed the range of strokes that can make bowlers look silly. Irfan Pathan and (Laxmipathy) Balaji too wielded the long handle to good effect and gave India a competitive total to defend," wrote the former India opener.

Gavaskar, the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in Tests, praised the Indian team for their determination. "When all eleven have a single-mindedness that this team showed, then succes is not too far away. The effort level was noteworthy for its fierce desire to win and that was infectious."

He said Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had slipped up by deciding to field first in the final match.

"He did not help his side's cause by opting to field in what was the series deciding game where the pressure would be the greatest even to chase a modest total, leave aside the almost-300 posted by India."

Gavaskar also blamed Inzamam's "inexperience" as captain for Pakistan's loss in the fourth match, in which India recovered from an early slump to level the series 2-2.

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