Hyderabad: Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh can be a deadly combo in a Test match. The two have won quite a few games for India and they appear to have done the spade work for another win here.
When New Zealand resumed at the overnight 258 for four, they had fond hopes of crossing the 500-mark, but Zaheer and Harbhajan, sharing four wickets each, dashed their hopes by dismissing them for 350.
“Zak (Zaheer) has been in tremendous form and was obviously bowling at his best,” said Harbhajan talking of the medium-pacer’s four-for-69 effort.
“He has bowled exceptionally well in the last two years and that in Indian conditions where not many bowlers succeed. He is a smart bowler, he knows his strengths and backs himself,” Harbhajan said.
Zaheer had got rid of century-maker Tim McIntosh and Ross Taylor overnight and Harbhajan said he did it to a plan. “He knows exactly what he has to do. If those two wickets were crucial, then the first two wickets were equally important today. That brought us back in a big way.”
After the first hour saw two wickets fall, Harbhajan went to bowl from the northern end and got rid of Daniel Vettori, leg before. The in-form Jesse Ryder was hard done by the bounce and turn, Tim Southee jumped out and was stumped.
“This is a good wicket for Test cricket. There is bounce for both fast bowlers and spinners. I hope it will play better for the bowlers as the match goes on,” said the off-spinner who ended the inning claiming Chris Martin.
Harbhajan said India can now drive home the advantage.
“We are in a position where if we bat well, we can force a result we are looking for.”
“We are in such a good position thanks to Virender Sehwag, though he missed out what would have been his 23rd Test century.
New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder looked good for his fourth Test century, having scored 103 in the Ahmedabad Test. He was going great guns at 70 (199m, 120b, 10×4) before Harbhajan brought him down.
“I respect my game, just stick to my processes. Luckily for me, it paid off. I am seeing the ball pretty well at the moment,” said the 26-year-old New Zealander.
He reckoned the visitors fell short of their estimation. “We fell some 100 runs short after the start we had yesterday. They bowled pretty well to start with and we lost a few crucial wickets early, and that put us on the back foot,” Ryder said.