Johnson overcomes nerves
Australia's Mitchell Johnson overcame a nervous start to claim four prize Indian wickets on the third day of the first Test.
Last Updated: 11/10/08 6:11pm
Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson overcame a bout of nerves to claim the wickets of four of India's star batsmen on the third day of the first Test in Bangalore.
Playing in his ninth Test, the 26-year-old is also contesting his first on Indian soil.
After Brett Lee had dismissed Gautam Gambhir, Johnson removed Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman in a morning session that threatened to take the game away from India.
Tendulkar began the day needing 77 runs to pass Brian Lara's Test run scoring record, but instead was fooled by a Johnson slow ball that he spooned to Cameron White at short point.
Johnson added Sourav Ganguly to his list of scalps after lunch and although a Harbhajan Singh-inspired India dug deep to reach stumps at 313-8, the Queenslander said he ultimately enjoyed his day's work.
"I was very nervous bowling yesterday and a little bit this morning," Johnson said.
"So to get those wickets, those big names is pretty exciting for me. It definitely helps where we are with the team, but I think everyone bowled well today.
"We stuck at it most of the day and hopefully we can do it again."
Nevertheless, Johnson believes Shane Watson played a more crucial role in in putting an end to Harbhajan's resistance in the final session.
Together with Zaheer Khan, he put on an 80-run stand for the eighth wicket before Watson had him caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
"The dismissal of Harbhajan definitely helps," Johnson continued.
"Harbhajan and Zaheer did get away from us a little bit. They got a good partnership going and for Watson to get that wicket definitely helps us going into tomorrow.
"Hopefully we can get the two wickets in the morning and bat on."
Johnson and Lee took the second new ball but the pair leaked runs to Harbhajan and Zaheer - a result of trying too hard according to the bowler.
"I guess when the tailenders come in you probably push a little too hard, trying to get wickets," Johnson added.
"I probably felt that way and I guess I was trying to get a five-for as well. I think when you bowl to the tailenders you have got to be as patient as you are with the top order.
"Sometimes when you push too hard they get away from you. I think taking the second new ball didn't work for us.
"With the new ball you could go for a bit of runs and that's what happened with us. I think we need to rethink our bowling with the new ball and probably
not push as hard."
Meanwhile, India right-hander Rahul Dravid made a studied 51 off 104 deliveries as he battled the slow wicket.
He was a touch unlucky to fall lbw to Watson with replays suggesting the dismissal could have been turned down.
And while Dravid conceded that India still have plenty of work to do, he also said he believed they can still win the match.
"I think we are a little behind at this stage," he said.
"But wickets in India usually tend to help spinners on the fourth and fifth days. The wickets here are usually slow and low.
"I guess we would have to fight hard to win this game."