Bangalore:Architect of India's morale-boosting draw in the first Test, Zaheer Khan could not help taking a dig at Ricky Ponting and his men, dubbing them the most defensive Australian side he has come across.
Zaheer's five-wicket haul in the first innings halted Australia in their strides and the left-arm seamer then chipped in with a crucial unbeaten 57-run knock which, along with Harbhajan Singh's equally gritty 54, saved India blushes.
The obvious choice for the Man of the Match award, Zaheer felt Australia's defensive mindset allowed India snatch a draw, which should stand them in good stead when they move to Mohali for the second Test.
"They were very defensive. I mean I have never seen an Australian team play such defensive cricket, which is a good thing for us," Zaheer said.
The seamer was referring to Australia's snail-pace progress in their second essay yesterday when the run-rate was hovering just over two before Shane Watson and Brad Haddin stepped on gas.
Stroke-makers like Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden were uncharacteristically subdued. Watson later attributed it to the tight line and length, apart from reverse swing, maintained by the Indian pacers besides the sharp turn which Harbhajan was routinely getting.
Zaheer was naturally happy after the hosts showed some grit and saved the match, which he felt was no mean achievement.
"It cannot get better than this and I'm extremely happy with the way things have gone in this match," he said.
"Looking at the wicket, we were in trouble the moment we lost the toss. But in the end, we did very well. To get a draw on wicket like this would boost our morale going into the second Test," Zaheer said.
Zaheer and Ishant Sharma did most of the damage in the first innings, sharing nine wickets between them and the left-arm seamer seemed highly impressed by his new ball colleague.
"Well, bowling in tandem with Ishant is a pleasure. He has pace, is tall and gets that bounce off wicket. He was pretty impressive," Zaheer gushed.
Another teammate who came in for rich praise from Zaheer was Harbhajan, whose rearguard heroics was crucial to India's cause in the first innings.
Zaheer said Harbhajan kept him keyed up and never ran short of suggestions.
"Bhajji was advising me all the time," Zaheer said.
"He was making sure I was on the front foot and stuff like that. On odd occasions, he would crack a joke that was important too (to calm the nerves)," he added.