Aggressive approach did the trick: Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir said the key was to match Australia's aggression and the strategy paid off with India just five wickets away from a win in the second Test.

updated: November 29, 2008 18:07 IST
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Attacking opener Gautam Gambhir believes a safety-first approach was never going to do the trick against Australia and if India is on the threshold of a memorable win in the second Test, it's only because of their unbridled aggression.

Gambhir, who scored his second Test century on Monday, said the key was to match Australia's aggression and the strategy paid off with India just five wickets away from a win in the second Test.

"The way we approached the match was completely different," Gambhir said.

"We knew if we are to do well against Australia and beat them, we have to be aggressive. We got a good start in the Test and since then we never looked back. They were always on the backfoot since the start of the Test," the hard-hitting left-hander said.

Gambhir and his Delhi captain Virender Sehwag put on 80 runs in the first innings and added 182 in the second and the excellent starts helped India set the Aussies a mammoth 516 to win the Test.

Gambhir said the bowlers have done their job as well and it was because of them that India is sniffing a victory in the Test.

"Lot of credit goes to the bowlers, especially with the way they bowled in the match. Amit Mishra was excellent in the first innings, as was Zaheer (Khan). Harbhajan (Singh) and Ishant (Sharna) bowled superbly in the second innings and it's because of them that were are in a position from where we can wap up the match tomorrow," Gambhir said.

Asked if Mishra's sensational debut, in which he picked a five-for in the first innings, complicated regular skipper Anil Kumble's return to the side, Gambhir said, "See, there is lot of time before the third Test. This is something for the think-tank to decide. I can say that the best XI would play the match."

On his personal form, Gambhir did not hide his glee to score his first Test century against a formidable side -- his maiden ton came against Bangladesh.

"It took me quite a while before getting this century. Since that century against Bangladesh, I got good starts but could not really convert them. Key was to convert those 60s and 70s into something bigger. I'm happy to score a century against Australia and believe the wait was worth it," he said.

The Delhi opener has excelled both in the Twenty20 and one-day formats but believes a cricketer is not complete unless he has done well in the longer version of the game.

"As a cricketer, you want to do well in Test cricket. This is how people remember you. That's why it's a great feeling to score this century and that too against Australia. I want to cement my place in the side with such peformance," Gambhir added.

Asked about the chemistry between him and Sehwag, Gambhir said, "I guess the secret of our success is that we enjoy a great relationship even off-the-field. It's very important.

"Having him at the other end always gives you that extra confidence, for you can share your thoughts with him."

Gambhir virtually ruled our Australia's chances of saving the Test and said, "Chasing 500-plus score in the fourth innings is never easy and especially when we have two world class spinners in Harbhajan and Amit Mishra."