Vol. 4 Num 218 Mon. January 05, 2004  

'Meditative' Indians

Australian century-maker Justin Langer hailed the phenomenal concentration shown by India's batsman after they racked up another mammoth score here Sunday.

Langer hit 17 boundaries and a huge six for his second hundred of the series and 17th overall as Australia crumbled to be 342 for six in reply to India's 705-7 declared after Day Three of the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The little left-hander was out for 117 off 149 balls shortly after tea to leg-spinner Anil Kumble when he attempted a pull shot and skied a catch at mid-wicket for wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.

Langer paid tribute the sensational batting of India's top six that has Saurav Ganguly's men on the verge of their first-ever series win in Australia.

Sachin Tendulkar claimed his highest first-class score of 241 not out in India's first innings here, while Rahul Dravid has scored 233, VVS Laxman 148 and 178, Virender Sehwag 195 and Ganguly 144 in other Tests in this series.

Langer admitted Australia had been put under unprecedented pressure by the Indian batsmen.

"The reality of this series is that the Indian batting is extraordinary and we haven't been under that sort of pressure for a long time," Langer said after Sunday's play.

"I can't remember in my career playing a team which is just batting so brilliantly.

"The pressure we've been under is having to bowl against, field against and then bat against huge scores.

"It's a credit to India that they've been able to play like that in these conditions."

Langer said the Australian batsmen could learn something from India.

"We can learn something from the Indian batsmen, they look so patient. It's almost like they're in a meditative state it's awesome the way they apply themselves to their batting."

Langer said he was drained after being in the field for two and a bit days and then scoring his century.

"I feel exhausted actually," Langer said. "We spent a long time in the field in Melbourne (third Test) in what was a huge game for us and then we've had two days in the field here.

"I'm happy to have scored a hundred, disappointed not to get a big hundred, but I'm feeling pretty tired to be honest."

But the left-hander said his compatriots would not be lured into abandoning their traditional aggressive batting tactics to save the match.

"It's not in our nature to bat defensively," Langer told a news conference on Sunday.

"No matter what the situation is, whenever you are scoring runs you are putting some pressure back on the bowlers."

Langer said he was still hopeful his teammates could grant retiring captain Steve Waugh one of his wishes in his farewell match.