Gautam Gambhir, who is fighting a lonely battle for India, paid handsome tributes to England spinners — Monty Panesar (left-arm) and Graeme Swann (off-spinner)- for turning the second Test in visitors’ favour.
“At times our spinners bowled too fast and at times bowled too slow in the air. On this wicket, which had turn and bounce, Monty and Swann bowled with the ideal speed and that’s what troubled us. Speed made a huge difference,” said Gambhir.
The other reason for England’s dominance being the 206-run stand between Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen that took the game away from India. “If you take out the partnership between Cook and Pietersen none of their other batsmen have contributed in a big way. May be if we have 170 to 180 runs to play with, the game is still on.”
Panesar, according to Gambhir, bowled better than Ojha. “Panesar was getting the extra bite and the jump. Though our bowlers also got it, Pietersen never allowed them to settle down. Pietersen is someone who gives you chances. He is someone who looks to always score runs, so there is always an opportunity but there are times when he takes the game away as he did today,” said Gambhir.
Asked about India’s collapse, Gambhir said they had one bad session. “Cook and Pietersen partnership took the game away from us but we had one bad session.”
Gambhir said they will try to be positive. “We have three wickets left. If we can get one partnership going and set 120-130 run target on the board the game is on. The important thing is we need runs on the board for the bowlers (to press for win). If you remember there was a Test match here when Australia were bowled out for 93, chasing 107 (2004).”
The left-handed opener felt the pitch was a good Test wicket. “We were never surprised. It is a result-oriented wicket. There is no fun when a team scores 500 or 600. These result-oriented wickets will bring crowds. It will revive Test cricket and I always felt we should play on these types of wickets that will test the players.”