Adelaide: Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was on course to smashing his first century today but the bowler rued the missed opportunity, admitting that a "stupid shot" put paid to his chance of creating history at the Adelaide Oval.
"Had I known what was in store for me, I would have never played that shot and scored a hundred... It was a stupid shot to get out on," said Harbhajan after the second day's play in the fourth and final Test against Australia.
"A hundred was easy on this kind of wicket and the track is still good," he added.
The off-spinner, who helped India cross 400 mark with only tail-enders in charge at the middle, batted for 136 minutes for his 63 runs and hit seven fours from 103 balls. Harbhajan was trapped when he tried to pick Andrew Symonds from outside the off-stump, but succeeded only in lobbing it on to the onside for wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist to accept the easy offering.
"I got a blasting when I returned to the dressing room. Sachin (Tendulkar) told me 'it was a rare opportunity and you missed it'. "But we learn from our mistakes and I will also try not to repeat it," he added.
The Jalandhar-based bowler scored his second successive half-century against the world champions on their own soil after his 59 in Sydney. Harbhajan who batted cautiously with skipper Anil Kumble (87) at the other end, said their plan was to first propel the team total beyond 400. "Everyone was trying hard to score. Kumble told me that we have to do 400 and we batted accordingly," he said.
Asked how Kumble and he coordinated being different personalities, Harbhajan said "Yes. We are different people. He is calm. We decided to bat on because we were looking at 400 first."
Harbhajan said he was hoping for a good third day for India when Aussies would be batting in reply to their 526. "We have two left-arm seamers to create spots. Mitchell Johnson (of Australia) has also bowled on the first two days so there are spots. It's a bit slow wicket. Let's see, it's still a good wicket.’’
"If we hit cautiously and take good catches then we have good chance of winning the match and levelling the series," he said.
Harbhajan ran into Stuart Clark while running between the wickets today but both just patted each other. The Indian said it was a similar situation in the controversial Sydney Test with Brett Lee at the other end, only the Australians had reacted differently then.
The Indian, due to appear for a hearing in the racial abuse case after the Test, said he was not under any kind of pressure. "I have no pressure of the hearing. I have a big day tomorrow but I will try to be relaxed and bowl well. I have people to look after the matter," he said.