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banner Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 08:46 GMT
A tough day at the office
VVS Laxman celebrates his century
Laxman subjected Australia to a strenuous day in the field
Australian batsman Justin Langer sends his latest postcard from the tour of India, after a gruelling day in the field on the third day of the second Test.

Thankfully we are still in the box seat for this second test match but it is after a long, strenuous day in the field.

Making India follow-on was our first achievable objective when we took the field this morning.

Two wickets was the target, and within forty-five minutes, two wickets had been taken. Goal one achieved, it was then up to our bowlers to draw from their reserves of energy and character on a lifeless Eden Gardens pitch.

By stumps tonight, India, thanks to a magnificent batting display by VVS Laxman, are twenty runs behind our first innings effort, with six wickets in hand.

Langer congratulates McGrath on the wicket of Ganguly
Langer congratulates McGrath

Not for the first time, Laxman made a sensational century, playing beautifully timed drives and pull shots.

He is a player of extreme class who hits the ball effortlessly to every conceivable boundary rope on a cricket ground.

He is having a dream season here in India with something like fourteen or fifteen first class centuries to his name.

He will be a major determinant in how this game transpires for the remainder of the test and I am sure his name will be on our highest priority list when we sit down for a team meeting tonight.

From our point of view, the pitch is still flat and the outfield lightning fast.

This means a lot more work with the ball in the morning to remove the final six Indian batsmen, but it also means we will be confident of chasing any set target.

Jason Gillespie
Dizzy at the end of play

With a new ball available in five overs, this game could be over sometime on day four, or as with the cycle of test match cricket, it still may go right down to the wire.

Whatever way, Coach John Buchanan's prediction at the end of day one, that this could turn out to be one of the best Test matches ever played, is looking more and more likely.

How our fast bowlers pull up in the morning will also be a contributing factor. Bowling long spells, on a flat pitch and in draining heat takes its toll, so their durability will be tested.

Knowing 'Dizzy', 'Pigeon' and 'Kaspa', they will be raring to go come 9:30 in the morning.

From Calcutta,
JL

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