Kolkata:An elegant VVS Laxman, who shared undefeated 259-run seventh wicket partnership with Mahendra Singh Dhoni to help India secure a 341-run lead against South Africa in the second Test, feels his skipper is the "most destructive" batsman in the contemporary world.
Laxman, who cracked an unbeaten 143, and Dhoni (132n.o.) helped India amass 643 for six before the hosts declared their first innings on third day at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
South Africa had made 296 in their first essay.
"I think, he (Dhoni) is the most destructive batsman in the world at the moment. He is a like an all-rounder and is such destructive as a batsman that put the opposition under pressure," Laxman told reporters after the third day's proceedings.
"You can see the body language of the bowlers whenever Dhoni gets in. They become very defensive in the way they bowl and field. We are really happy that he is coming at number seven and doing the required job," he added.
Laxman, who has produced some of his classy knocks at the Eden, was also impressed with the temperament of his skipper.
"It's also good that he is converting those fifties into big hundreds. It's also good that whenever he gets a hundred, he gets in quick pace. It's great when a number seven batsman comes and destroys the opposition," he said.
"Everyone in our team has specific role. it's important that we play to our strength. We don't try to copy or emulate, that's the beauty of our team which have unique style. But our ultimate aim is to deliver for the team," he added.
Laxman also made special mention of leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who chipped in with valuable 28 as a nightwatchman, and said it was him who brought the momentum back to the side after some quick losses.
"It was crucial in the morning as we had lost three quick wickets yesterday. Mishra really played well and got the momentum back into the side with some of his attacking shots.
"Then my partnership with MS (Dhoni) took the game away from South Africans. I am always happy to take the team out of such tough situation," Laxman, who shared a quick 47-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Mishra, said.
Asked to compare the bowling attacks of Australians and South Africans, Laxman said, "It's very difficult to compare. Both the attacks were very good. It's always good to get runs under such quality attacks. They have got bowlers who bowl at more than 145 kmph."
Laxman also said that with Eden pitch fast deteriorating, it is encouraging for the Indian spinners as they will get a chance to clinch the match.
"The pitch is definitely deteriorating. There will be lot of assistance to the spinners without doubt. I am sure our quality spinners will able to exploit the condition," Laxman said.
"Any Indian track on the fourth day becomes slow. There is a lot of help for spinners which is really encouraging. Especially from the far end, there will be help for our spinners," he added.
"There will be a tough fight without doubt. But we are quite confident that our bowlers will do the job like they did on first day. we are not looking to finish off tomorrow. There is enough time to bowl them out," Laxman said.
He also praised curator Prabir Mukherjee, who had been hogging the limelight with some controversies over the pitch.
"The wicket has played really true. There was really value for shots and for spinners there were help. For medium pacers also on the first day there were some assistance. The curator has done a tremendous job," he said.
Asked how tough was to make a comeback after a defeat in the last Test in Nagpur and what was the team strategy, Laxman said, "We were quite positive when we went into the Test. Yes, everyone was quite disappointed with the way we lost the Test in Nagpur.
"We just regrouped and wanted to do the things which we have been doing in the last two years. That's what we did. First, it was important to score a lot of runs in the first innings to put pressure on SA," he said.
On South Africans dropping catches, especially in the event that Graeme Smith had a finger fracture and could not field at slips, Laxman said, "These are part and parcel of matches.
"We should not take away the credit from our batters for the way they stuck in there and delivered the goods. The partnership between Gautam and Viru set us up nicely yesterday. Then Sachin and Viru dominated the bowling."
"We stuck to our plans and we just wanted to bat as long as possible and put pressure on South Africa. We are really happy to do that."
On whether he misses playing Twenty20 and one-day cricket for India, Laxman said, "For me, Test cricket was always very very important. Representing the country was a great motivation for me right from the younger days. I am really glad to play Test cricket and consistently doing well for the country. I don't really miss playing T20 or the ODIs and am quite happy that I am an important member of the Test side."
"Also I am quite lucky to play first class cricket, the IPL... There is not much of gap even though there was a gap of six to eight months between the New Zealand tour and the Sri Lanka series, I was playing for Lancashire, which really helped me keep my fitness going."
Making a comeback here after an injury lay-off, Laxman said he worked very hard on the way to a recovery.
"I was training well in Nagpur or even before the Test series. (Trainer) Ramji (Srinivasan) was working really hard in terms of fitness. During the last three days of the Nagpur Test, I had long net sessions and batted long using the bowling machine. I was pretty confident that when I came to this Test."
Laxman was also confident that India have a talented crop of youngsters who will come good with a mental transition.
"Every youngster who plays for the country knows the responsibility to consistently deliver for the team. It's just about applying themselves. The transition definitely is not so easy from domestic to international cricket.
"But I am glad that lot of youngsters are coming up, especially they are winning matches in the one-days. Now they are coming into Test cricket as well," he said.
Laxman, however, refused to comment on the issue of Deccan Chargers' pull-out of the Indian Premier League.
"That's in the future after the Test series. I am just thinking about Test at the moment."