Harbhajan slams England's slow batting

Published: Friday, December 12, 2008, 9:32 [IST]
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England were too defensive: Harbhajan Singh

Chennai: India's leading spinner Harbhajan Singh opined that the England team were too defensive in their approach and let go of the advantage despite winning the toss and getting into a good position early on.

''England won a good toss and  was the best day to bat on this pitch. But for some reason, they were too defensive. They scored some 60-odd runs in the first session and 229 the entire day.

Had India batted, we would have scored more than 300,'' Harbhajan told mediapersons here today.

''They helped us by blocking balls and not going for shots.

England were not really looking to dominate,'' he added.

The Punjab bowler felt that the wicket was perfect for batting but the England batsmen failed to make the most of the conditions.

''Except for the odd ball that spun, turned and bounced, the wicket was good to bat on. You could play your shots if you wanted to,'' Harbhajan said.

Singh was delighted at the manner in which India had hauled themselves back into contention in the final session after the English openers had given their side a solid start.

''I thought we bowled well today, and we knew that things would happen in the last session. As I said, England did not look to score runs,'' he opined.

Harbhajan pointed to the tempo at which England scored, especially the final session that saw just 65 runs in 33 overs.

''They went in to defensive mode and got only 63 runs in the first session. We would have collected at least 100. We're really happy with the way we bowled today,'' he quipped.

The Turbanotor praised pacers Zaheer Khan, who claimed two crucial wickets and Ishant Sharma for bowling their hearts out in unhelpful conditions.

''Both Zaheer and Ishant have been working hard on reverse-swing and their fitness,'' Harbhajan said. ''They are doing a great job for the side. It's hard to bowl in these conditions.'' The jovial sardar, who was creating the odd ripple of laughter with his typically candid answers, became more sombre when asked about the stiffling security and the hordes of armed commandoes standing guard in and around the stadium.

He thanked the England players for returning to India for the Test series despite heightened security alerts following the terror attacks in Mumbai.

''There's a Test match to be won and no quarter will be given, but each of the 22 players that stood silently for two minutes at 9:20am appeared to understand that this wasn't just another game,'' he said. ''Whatever happened in Mumbai was very sad. It was great that England came back. Hats off to these guys. It was good to be back in action and on the field. After the Mumbai incidents, we were all tense and scared but we cannot control these things.''


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