Friday, March 20, 2009


After putting India in an advantageous position with his 42nd Test ton, Sachin Tendulkar on Friday hoped for a favourable outcome but said there would be no let up in intensity."It is always a good feeling to be in a position that we are in. I think we are in a strong position now and that is what really matters to us. There is a terrific atmosphere in the dressing room," Tendulkar said.

"We sort of led from the front from the first session of this Test match and at this point in time we are very much on our way to achieving something good. But we don't want to take anything for granted," he said.New Zealand are trailing India by 166 runs with three wickets already down in their second innings after India scored a massive 520 in their first innings on the third day of the match."Tomorrow's first session is going to be extremely important and we hope to go flat out," said Tendulkar, who dedicated his 160 — his 42nd Test hundred — to tiger conservation.The 35-year-old batsman said the partnerships were crucial in placing India where they are now."The partnership with Rahul could have been big. But all those partnerships in between, from (VVS) Laxman to Harbhajan (Singh), were important because it was extremely crucial to put us 200-plus ahead of their total," Tendulkar said.

The batting maestro, however, rued his mistake to play the ball from off to square. "I went for the single. I saw that there was no fielder at mid-wicket and square-leg. So I wanted to work the ball around there. Probably the ball was not there to be played to square," said the affable Mumbai batsman.Tendulkar also said he was middling the ball very well. "Initially, it was a little difficult to get used to the pace and bounce of the wicket yesterday. It did take some time to find the centre of my bat. They did bowl a good line and in good areas. You just got to respect and play out good spells.Later on it got better. I felt the contact was much better and gave me lot of confidence. When I saw the ball was there to be put away, I just did that."Asked if he was happy with the way he score the hundred, Tendulkar said, "I thought once the new ball was taken I started timing the ball much better. After that things were different. I was quite happy with the way I moved and found the centre more often than not.""Every hundred is not going to be a fluent one and you are not going to hit 100 balls out of 100 from the centre of the bat. That is what Test cricket is all about. There are days that you have to work harder than the other ones," Tendulkar said.About the injury he sustained on his left index finger while taking a catch at first slip of Tim McIntosh, he said, "It is fine. It is a bit sore right now. I am glad that I have not broken it."

But was the catch clean? "I was 100 per cent confident that I had taken the catch. I have seen the replays and I have also seen my fingers under the ball. If the umpires were in doubt they would have definitely called for the third umpire."On pointing out that he had scored 24 of his 42 Test hundreds on foreign soil, Tendulkar said, "A hundred is a hundred. The last one I scored before this one in Chennai was also a difficult one. The conditions were not in favour of the batsmen and I managed to pull it through."One knows home conditions better than foreign conditions. But eventually after being around for a while I know exactly when to pace my innings and back off a bit."When his attention was drawn to the back-to-back hundreds (including 163 retd hurt in the ODIs) in New Zealand, he said, "I wouldn't want to think about all those things. I'm a bit superstitious. Let the others count the hundreds and let me go and bat," Tendulkar said.

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