NEW DELHI // The India coach Gary Kirsten praised the determination of his captain Anil Kumble today after he returned from a serious finger injury to take three wickets against Australia in the third Test. The leg-spinner needed 11 stitches in his left hand after splitting the webbing while attempting a catch off Matthew Hayden on Friday, but after spending time in hospital he rejoined his teammates the following day.
Having gone wicketless for only the third time in his career in the second Test at Bangalore, Kumble risked further damage to his hand to finish with 3 for 112 from 43.3 overs as Australia was dismissed for 577. "I thought it was fantastic," Kirsten said. "He's a champion, he wants to get on the field and do everything he can. "I'm pleased he got wickets and got into the Test match. He's an incredible asset to the team and has done so well."
Kumble's first wicket came when he had Brad Haddin stumped for 16, and he ended the innings by removing Brett Lee lbw and Mitchell Johnson to a brave caught-and-bowled. "There was a risk from a fielding point of view, not for bowling," Kirsten said. "But he took a great catch with a messed-up finger." Kirsten hoped Kumble would not need to bat. "I think he's going to struggle," he said. "He's got 11 stitches, it's not going to make it easy. If we need him - hopefully we don't - I'm sure he'll get out there."
India hold a 1-0 series lead ahead of the final Test starting Thursday in Nagpur, but Kirsten is unsure if Kumble will be fit to play. The Off-spinner Virender Sehwag took extra responsibility in Kumbles absence and recorded career-best figures of 5-104 from 40 overs, while the leg-spinner Amit Mishra chipped in with two wickets. Kirsten said Sehwag had proved himself as an all-rounder. "He's spoken about wanting more bowling time and he's proved he's a tremendous asset with the ball. He adds greater depth and variety to our attack," Kirsten said.
One poor aspect of India's display was the fielding and the team gave three lives to Michael Clarke, who scored 112 to post his eighth Test century and help reduce Australia's deficit to 79. "I was very lucky, especially in the 90s. Without doubt, it certainly helped," said Clarke, who was dropped on 91 and 94. *AP