Dhoni hails 'special' duo

Laxman and Sharma draw unreserved praise from skipper

By Joe Drabble.   Last Updated: 05/10/10 5:07pm

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Sky Bet

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni paid tribute to a "very special" partnership between VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma after his side's nail-biting one-wicket victory over Australia.

"The character then shown by Ishant Sharma and VVS Laxman was very special, ably supported by a couple of other batsmen."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni Quotes of the week

The India duo dug deep with a match-winning 81-run partnership for the ninth-wicket in the first Test at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

Seemingly destined for defeat on 124-8 in pursuit of the 216 victory target, Laxman cracked an unbeaten 73 and Ishant (31) equalled his highest ever Test score to put India on the brink.

Ricky Ponting's men battled back though as Ben Hilfenhaus dismissed Sharma to reignite Australian hopes of victory.

However, Pragyan Ojha joined Laxman and together they made the 11 runs India required for victory.

Character

Speaking after the match, Dhoni said: "This game was full of emotions. To start off we lost Ishant (to injury) in the first innings which meant we had to bowl with three bowlers and the wicket was quite flat.

"The way we bowled in the second and third session (on day one) was remarkable and that really brought us back into the game. The Aussie batsmen had gone after our bowlers but after that we were quite happy to get them out for just over 400.

"We could have got a first-innings lead, we didn't, and we could improve there. The bowlers did a great job in the second innings to bowl them out for 180-190. The character then shown by Ishant Sharma and VVS Laxman was very special, ably supported by a couple of other batsmen."

Speaking of the contribution of Laxman, who was battling against a series of back spasms during the innings, Dhoni said: "He's a remarkable batsman because if he is at the crease, whatever field you set he can still rotate the strike, score boundaries and the scoreboard keeps ticking over.

"He's a really amazing batsman to have at number six but because of the injury he batted down the order. I think he did a real good job for us."

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