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Harbhajan admits struggles

Off-spinner hampered by early success

Harbhajan celebrates his 250th Test wicket

Harbhajan Singh concedes he has struggled with the burden of expectation caused by his superb performances against Australia in 2001.

"From the time I took those 32 wickets, whenever I didn't get wickets, people expected me to do the same thing, it's not easy to do things like that. It happens once or twice in a lifetime. "

Harbhajan Singh

Quotes of the week

Harbhajan, then aged 20, claimed 32 wickets in the three-match series on home soil as India beat Steve Waugh's Australians 2-1.

The off-spinner has struggled to repeat that success since, although his 3-101 on the third day of the first Test of the current series against Australia in Melbourne saw him become the fourth Indian bowler to reach 250 wickets.

"From the time I took those 32 wickets, whenever I didn't get wickets, people expected me to do the same thing, it's not easy todo things like that," he said.

"It happens once or twice in a lifetime. It's good to have expectations but you can't really do anything about it, you just go and try to bowl well for my team.

"I've played enough cricket now and I know in the tough conditions how to handle things. I was very raw when I came in to play in 2001, I was young and all over the place.

"There wasn't that much responsibility for me then and things have now changed and there is a lot of responsibility not just in bowling and batting, but also off the field."

Club 250

Australia captain Ricky Ponting edged to slip to become Harbhajan's 250th victim during the morning session on Friday.

"There's no doubt that Ricky Ponting is a very good player, but I have some sort of success against him, I don't know how and why," added Harbhajan.

"It's always good to get good batsmen out and I'm very happy to get his wicket again and it was my 250th Test wicket and that means a lot in getting a great player out."

Despite Harbhajan's performance, Australia declared their second innings at 351-7 to leave India chasing a distant victory target of 499.

"Obviously, it's a stiff target, but I won't say it's not achievable," said Harbhajan.

"With the kind of batting lineup we have, if we play to our potential anything can happen in cricket and this is a good wicket to bat on.

"I'm sure our batsmen are looking forward to going out and showing some character tomorrow.

"We're here to win the series, we're not looking to draw this match and we'll try our best to win this game. We're going to give it our best shot."