| Parthiv Patel en route to his unbeaten 62 in Lahore on Thursday. (Reuters)
Lahore: The turnout at the Gaddafi was, as usual, poor on Thursday. Quite a few, though, kept cheering for a gutsy 19-year-old: Parthiv Patel. As it turned out, he was unbeaten on a career-best 62 when the Indian second innings ended towards the close of the opening session.
“It’s nice to have got the runs under so much pressure, but I’m disappointed as we lost by a huge margin (nine wickets),” Patel told The Telegraph, on returning to the team hotel.
Incidentally, Patel did get 62 in the first innings of the drawn Sydney Test (in January), but was dismissed by Brett Lee at that score.
“This effort will definitely rank higher because of the pressure... After all, an innings defeat had to be avoided and a challenging target set for Pakistan... Sadly, a big enough total wasn’t reached,” he added.
Overnight on 13, Patel saw Virender Sehwag depart early and it was left to him and Ajit Agarkar (a centurion at Lord’s) to see India clear the first-innings deficit of 202. Actually, they put on 75 for the eighth-wicket. Agarkar’s exit, however, signalled yet another collapse and...
“Even after Sehwag’s loss, I wasn’t at all pessimistic as everybody down the order could bat. But, then...” Patel left the obvious unsaid.
While comparing the hottest speed merchants, Lee and Shoaib Akhtar, Patel picked the Pakistan spearhead as being quicker: “This morning, specially, he was real fast... That I was able to handle him should boost my confidence.”
Why not' Only, he shouldn’t now be made to open!
Meanwhile, Dilip Vengsarkar (one of three former India captains invited for the Test) is of the opinion that India can quickly recover from this crushing loss.
Speaking exclusively, he said: “Man to man, we’re superior... But, yes, we must play to potential. If we do, the third Test is going to be ours... It’s shocking that we crashed to 147 for seven (on the opening day) after being 69 for one... Faltering yet again, though, will mean we don’t deserve to win...”
Few should argue with that.